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Creating a theme for your event may sound easy and possibly a bit trite, but, frankly, done right, it’s not easy. It is also important to get this right.

Although, my company, P&V Enterprises is 20 years old, I continue to read and re-read sections of important event planning texts. One of my favorites is “Professional Event Coordination” by Julia Rutherford Silvers. She states on page164, quoting from PIne and Gilmore, that the word “theme” is traced to the Greek “thema”, denoting “the place” or “something placed”. They contend that “experiences occur in places, and the best of thoe places are themed.” They propose that there are five principles for developing a theme:
1. It must alter a guest’s sense of reality
2. IT must affect the experience of space, time, and matter
3. It must integrate space,time, and matter into a cohesive realistic whole
4. It is strengthened by creating multiple places within a place
5. It must fit the character of the enterprise staging the experience

They also assert,”The theme must drive all the design elements and staged events of the experience toward a unified storyline that wholly captivates the customer”.

With the above in mind, if there is a real message and content, using a theme that is trendy or seems “cool” to you, probably isn’t the best way to go.
Therefore sit down and think this through, so your theme and the resulting event or conference results are positive. Think of what was in the list. Think what technologies could be used to exemplify the theme. Would augmented reality work? Would it be more interesting to use Prezi for some presentations rather than PowerPoint or Keynote? Will your theme and its implementation fit the character of your stakeholders? Would creating the multiple places within a place work with the style of breakouts or groupings in one large meeting room? Would streaming all or just certain portions of the conference be advantageous?

Finally, think carefully that you do have a unified storyline so it won’t be confusing and giving your attendees mixed messages.

Questions? Let’s talk!

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