Do you have adventuresome meeting, conference or convention attendees attending your event on their birthday? If so, find a way to celebrate as part of your agenda. Make the event a great experience (rather than just another meeting) for everyone to remember. Don’t let your honoree regret having the meeting on their special day. Bruce Mau, a general session speaker at MPI’s 2017 World Education Congress is quoted in an i-meet blog post by Marilyne Bouteiller as saying “Stop planning meetings, start designing experiences, think about the individual user experience, not the audience as a whole, but the individual. Think about what they need, not what we want them to do”.
Identifying Birthday Honorees
You need to identify who is celebrating. Also, be sure that they want to publicly celebrate. You could gather this information on your registration form. Alternatively, ask people at the event to self-identify if they would like to celebrate.
Making An Opportunity to Celebrate
You need to make an opportunity to include the birthday as an integral part of your event program. This could be as simple as offering a special desert course and discussion about the desert or a topic of interest to the honoree. On one occasion a meeting attendee from Brazil was celebrating her special day. We ordered a cake in the shape of the Brazilian Flag and included a discussion about Brazil as part of the experience.
You could include making the celebration into an integral part of some presentations. It is easy for me to include the celebrant as an on-stage contestant in my Education by Entertainment Mind Games programs. I typically blindfold the honoree with a bandana designed for the occasion. Sometimes my programs are focused on communications. In these programs the blindfolded honoree finds a present by asking optimal yes/no questions. I also give the celebrant a birthday ribbon and plush bear. I follow up by sending the honoree a birthday card with their photo on it.
Of course, you need to find the best way to celebrate in your programs.
My goal is to have all attendees enjoy learning at the programs. I also really want the honoree to think that their birthday was awesome. Thus far, I have been very successful achieving both goals.