5 Elements of a Perfect Event: Inspiration

Before I tie this to our industry, some background:

Friday night, a group of us, including a number of industry colleagues, went to DC's Sixth & I Synagogue* for the 8th annual Shabbat service celebrating the lives of Martin Luther King, Jr. and of Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel.  The service, held jointly with the Turner Memorial AME Church, which occupied the same worship space for many years, is always an inspiration for heart, brain and soul.  It is an event that leads many there to further action. In "A-Word-A-Day", Anu Garg quotes the great Frederick Douglass, former slave, abolitionist, editor, and orator, who said "I prayed for freedom for twenty years, but received no answer until I prayed with my legs." It is what we feel when we leave. 

So what's the tie in to meetings and events?

1) The service had all the elements of a good event: community gatheed for a shared purpose, music (the Howard University Gospel Choir), dancing (the Turner AME Agape Dancers),
inspiring (v. "inspirational") speakers (Dr. Peter Edelman and Rev. William Lamar), beautiful surroundings, and after the service, community and food.**

2) Unlike some speakers we hear at meetings, these speakers, and the liturgy and music specifically designed for the occasion, inspired us to further conversation and to action. 

When you walk out of a general session, do you always know what you can do, what you will do to make changes happen in yourself? the industry? the world?

3) "White space" - time for reflection of what was said and of one's own thoughts. Not over-scheduled with speakers and music and liturgy and readings of Dr. King and Rabbi Heschel, we had reflection time built in. How many meetings do that??!

4) Participation in the readings and the singing and the clapping and the movement .. and none of the latter 3 were at a "networking event with alcohol" and we all felt energized and connected.

5)  Sense of purpose felt when we left to use our feet (and our voices) to make a difference.

Though I said 5 elements, let me add two more: comfort. People were dressed in what was comfortable for them - jeans, suits, dresses, "business casual", etc. The joining of hands at the end to sing "We Shall Overcome" brought us all closer in a shared purpose. And the "registration" fee ($6)? It was used to fund action today: volunteers were taking that money to buy supplies to fix a house in DC. Social responsibility was of course part of this event.

We can build communities to change meetings, educate, and do more for our industry, our individual professions, and in my optimistic world view, the world.

Be inspired! 

* A great venue for meetings and events, btw.
** Our group went out for Chinese food, shared around a large oval table, and conversation about the recently held PCMA meeting (4 of us had been there), politics and race and how our industry is impacted, and building a larger community of friends and colleagues. The Synagogue had a dessert reception for anyone who wanted to attend.
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