Brussels – An international hub and city with the most events and congresses in the world, second only to Washington DC, has decided to further promote its image as an international player with the help of an organisation called VisitBrussels. Over the summer, they organised a three day event showcasing Brussels to associations, positioning it as an ideal place to hold your events, set-up your hub and tell your story to the EU crowd.

Inspired by the TEDxBrussels bug, which is clearly infecting everyone in Brussels these days (see my previous post about Hyperthinking at the EU – Should I stay or should I go), they also tested the format of the 18 minute all-inspiring presentation. Despite the small (unTEDlike) size of the audience and the relatively informal atmosphere, it seems to have worked quite well.

I was invited to make a presentation on ‘Virtually Real Brussels’, or how the nature of events have changed and why associations need to think about how events should be part of a global story that lives from tweet to street. This is a trend that we are increasingly seeing with our association clients is the realisation that we have an opportunity to rethink (dare I say ‘Hyperthink’) the way we approach events. Often they are seen as an end in themselves, the ‘big moment’ of the association, forgetting that much of the work and effort that goes into these gatherings can be wasted without careful planning and thinking about how it extends into the virtual world. After all, the essence of an event perpetuates through the networking and storytelling that continues long after the meeting has ended. It is also an opportunity for associations to explore other ways of doing things and making their communication strategy more effective as well as less expensive.

I shared some of my thoughts about this in the interview below.

Check out my presentation, including my TED experience of narrowly avoiding a devastating robot bird accident: