Thoughts on creating events that exhilarate

fire presentation on stage Set the stage to be unforgettable by doing the unexpected

What is it about the juxtaposition of two seemingly incongruous styles that helps keep an audience’s attention? The answer is part art, part science.

In 1996, scientists concluded that “seeking novelty is a well-identified human character trait, possibly associated with the dopamine D4 receptor gene.” This is echoed by authors Tania Luna and LeeAnn Renninger, who claim in their book, Surprise: Embrace the Unpredictable and Engineer the Unexpected, that “we feel most comfortable when things are certain, but we feel most alive when they’re not.”

That’s why you’ll see us surprising you with unexpected elements that keep your audience on their toes, too. And here’s one way we do it.

Contemporary meets heirloom
When designing a stage setting, we’re always looking to achieve a balance between the familiar and the new, the contemporary vs. the traditional.

For example, if we’re creating a forward-thinking look for a tech or pharma company, we bring in elements that amplify scientific thinking and precision with a futuristic feel. The colors may be light blue, white, or gray, all typical for this type of event and industry. That achieves the familiar.

To balance that, we may add components that remind the audience of an earlier time, features that evoke the nostalgic, emotional side. It could be an antique or an artifact that is surprising in the setting, something subtle, like a filigree frame around a giant screen. Not only does this create a soothing effect, it reflects a blend of the future meeting the past.

And, more importantly, it delivers the unexpected. That’s critical, because when we’re setting the stage for an event or conference, our goal is to stimulate ideas, captivate attendees and suggest that anything can happen.

Taken together, this balanced design keeps the audience more engaged, less likely to think they’ve seen it all before. That’s great when you’re delivering new messages and want them to retain your takeaways.

Ditch the formula
We don’t have a playbook or bark out commands to a short order cook, like “gimme a number 2, hold the slaw.” We consider each event you do as a stand-alone affair and take into account dozens of ideas in creating the look and feel.

Sometimes we turn our thinking completely upside down to ensure you’re never taking your audience for granted. We help you defy expectations to bring an excited energy level into the room and, at the same time, balance it with a sense of delight and possibility. This is what keeps you fresh—and it’s one of many reasons why clients seek us out time after time.

Authenticity is everything
If you’ve ever gone house shopping, no doubt you’ve walked into a home where everything is perfectly staged, designed to create a dreamscape version of life. It’s lovely yet it may make you feel uncomfortable because there’s no real human element. No photos, no family heirlooms. It’s pretty but it doesn’t feel real.

Reality can be stunning when it’s thoughtfully crafted with elements that “feel real” in a big event. Here’s an example: if you wanted a room to have a particular period look, say something from the fifties, we’d advise you to include furnishings from the thirties and forties, too, because it reflects real life. People bring parts of their past with them as they move through future chapters in their lives.

A stage needs to reflect that sensibility, too. It needs to evoke comfort, familiarity and authenticity so the audience feels connected. Arranged side by side with modern, digital, and futuristic elements is what helps keep the audience tuned in.
For more ideas on how to deliver the unexpected to your audience, talk to us.



Got a million ideas? Or none at all? No matter, because the real genius is in our collaboration. So let’s create something astonishing together. Leave a message here or call us now at (866) 984-8766.

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