Planning with a dash of welcomed chaos – the #SPICYtalks17 secret

We just wrapped up two days of #SPICYtalks17, and I dare say it’s been our best edition to date. Hats off to our team, the professional support at our venue Studio Le Cyclone and the stars of the day: all attendees, partners, distributors, resellers, customers and prospects. It’s a major cliché, but thank you all for your relentless contributions.

#SPICYtalks17 would not have been the success it was if not for the combined efforts of the entire CHILI publish crew, both in and out-of-house. Customer events, some dread it, others thrive on it. I tend to hover somewhat in between. Focus and dedication is what it’s all about in my book. Throw in some years of experience and you get a killer combo.

There are some tricks of the trade, of course. Sharing is caring, so here goes.

1. Location, location, location

Work hard – attendees want to make the most of their investment. Look for a venue that is hospitable, accessible and flexible. You need a helpful crew, friendly yet firm. Business is to be conducted, session deadlines to be respected. Select a venue that is accessible, limiting transfer time between meeting rooms to the absolute minimum. Be mindful of proper lighting and PA infrastructure. All adding up to flexibility – on both sides. You need a bamboo attitude – it doesn’t break under the pressure of the wind, it bends with it.

Play hard – don’t host your evening event at the same venue. When in Rome… Or Paris, in this case. We’ve all seen the Tour Eiffel – but have you seen it from across the other side on its sister’s terrace? Stay away from tourist traps, but don’t go too overboard. We selected Tour Montparnasse, the highest point in Paris, providing the most magnificent view on key Parisian landmarks. Look for that one location that puts the cherry on the cake. We knew some people couldn’t extend the business trip into a personal one, so from here at least they would have seen the key landmarks from afar. Add some fine wining and dining, not to mention stellar company. Et voilà!

2. Food

*For the body *– serve me crap, I’ll give you crap. Surprise me with some delectable yummies, you’ll see my mood instantly improving. Alcoholic drinks yay/nay over lunch is a personal preference, we’re OK with it. We rely on everyone’s sense and sensibility. As France is the land of food and drinks we also opted for a food give-away: macarons. Send some over? Alas, they’re all gone now. (disclaimer: I may or may not have eaten them all)

For the mind – You can’t please everyone, that would involve you being an ice cream producer rather than a print service provider. Nonetheless, we knew our audience would consist of both techies and management. That’s why we opted for both business and developer tracks. The level of technicality was adjusted last-minute to the profiles who registered to attend (there’s that extra mile people!). A wise decision as it turned out, well perceived by all attendees. Very rewarding for the crew that worked long hours to provide you with the right content, visuals and demos.

For the soul – balance is everything. You may have planned it all, but leave some wiggle room for chaos. Luggage gets lost, people fall ill, deliveries get delayed. Breathe in, breathe out, solve the problem. You’ll be surprised how inventive you can be under pressure. Et voilà, another lesson learned.

3. Team spirit

During the keynote presentation, we stressed the importance of our ecosystem and the building of a community. We don’t want to run the buzzword bingo game here, but we do mean every word of it. In a world of supreme technicity, it’s the people behind it that keep fuelling the acceleration trend. Only if we work together, can we truly move forward. That requires a human2human (inter)personal approach. Basically meeting each other IRL (do we still use that abbreviation?). Talking, laughing, arguing even, as long as we keep communicating on how to work together and achieve greater things we can all benefit from.

So, allow me to express a big thank you to all who registered and attended. Your input and feedback has improved our SPICY talks edition after edition. Today was the pinnacle of our SPICY talks mountain track. It was amazing. As they say: the best event is the one that achieves your goals and exceeds your expectations.


Cindy Van Luyck

May 4, 2017

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