Can a Book Change the World (Part 2)

August 17, 2006

We just called Ed Bernacki and ordered six more Conference Navigator Guides for the conferences we’ll be attending soon. Why? Because when we used his guide at the recent National Speakers Association convention we got more great ideas than from any other conference we’ve ever attended. What’s a Conference Navigator Guide, you ask? Sheryl already wrote about it in the previous article Can a Book Change the World (Part 1), but there’s more.

I think it’s only fair to let Ed Bernacki of Wow Great Idea (www.wowgreatidea.com) introduce you to his own Conference Navigator Guides at his web page: http://www.wowgreatidea.com/greatidea/aboutthenavigator/index.asp.

Now that you’re back, I’ll add my take to Sheryl’s in Part 1 and tell you about the real power of the Conference Navigator Guides – for convention and meeting planners.

I don’t know about you, but when it comes to attending a convention or conference, I’ve always had a hard time retaining what I learn, maintaining my motivation and keeping my conference commitments. I’m an earnest meeting participant and I actually attend the speeches and breakouts – and I take good notes. I leave most conferences with a notebook, various handouts and a legal pad – full of ideas, people to contact and a reminder of the exact five steps it takes to become a billionaire.

Then, when I get home, each conference notebook first lands on my desk (where I promise to get to it right away), migrates to the top of my filing cabinet (where it stares at me for another month) and eventually finds its final resting place on a bookshelf in the extra bedroom (never to be seen again).

If any of the above sounds like you, listen up. More importantly, if you have responsibility for planning meetings and conventions, then listen very, very closely.

The ingenuity of the Conference Navigator Guides comes not only from the guide itself, but also from the guidance within it. After all, Ed is an expert on creativity and innovation, so the guy has to be ingenious.

Sheryl told you about the guide itself – with specific ways to capture and organize your greatest ideas into “quotes to remember,” “actions to take,” a “hot bin,” “loony bin” and even a “recycle bin.” I don’t like change and I have loved my legal pads for years, but the construction of the Navigator Guide made even me wonder what I ever saw in those pathetic little yellow lined pads.

Sheryl also mentioned the guidance Ed gives within the book. The introduction helps you decide on your meeting goals and gives you concrete ways to be alert for great ideas, improve your active listening and focus your networking. The guidance at the end is gold. Ed helps you debrief your convention experience in a section called “Invest 60 Minutes for a Year of Great Ideas.” That seemed like a fair deal to us. And it worked!

All of the above added up to a truly conference changing experience for us. But, Ed Bernacki’s guides are not designed to be ordered by individuals. Instead, they are designed for those who plan meetings or conferences, even if you hold just one a year.

The Conference Navigator Guides can be tailored in a number of ways to your own convention goals and strategies. Your conference schedule can be printed inside the Navigator Guide. Your goal planning, ROI, or kick-off session can be weaved right into the guide’s introduction. Your specific follow-up strategies can be implemented in the debriefing section. (In fact, we felt our “Invest 60 Minutes for a Year of Great Ideas” session was richer and more targeted because there were two of us – so your company or association might create a “debrief with…” strategy right into the guide).

Going further, when an entire meeting or convention uses them, the Conference Navigator Guides themselves become a touchstone and bond for those attending. Workshop instructors begin to refer to a perfect “loony bin” or “chilly bin” idea. Speakers start to interact with the audience, asking them to turn to their “quotes to remember” section. And around the halls and in the bars (especially in the bars), you begin to hear “Wow, great idea.” Create conferences for paying customers? These guides are an innovative way to add value to your attendees’ learning experience.

(A personal note: we want you to know that we paid Ed Bernacki for our Conference Navigator Guides – and we paid him for the six we just ordered. We also do not collect referral fees (see the About Us section for more about how we feel about referral fees).

If we told you all of our great ideas, action plans and commitments that were inspired by Ed’s guides, we’d have to kill you. Because then you would get to the billion dollars before we do. Of course, if you have been reading carefully, you already know that the real billion dollar idea, especially if you have responsibility for planning and executing extraordinary meetings, is the Conference Navigator Guide itself.

Can a book change the world? This one can, and does, change your conference meeting world.

Michael Benidt

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