click image to zoomJohn Harms, founder of Millennium Systems International, with this year's Millennium Experience theme, Game On! When you think about it, the standard industry conference is fairly formulaic. You have the invigorating welcome, the motivational speaker who brings the audience to their feet, the down-to-business breakout sessions, and the networking party.
Just as we were wrapping up the final pages of this special annual technology issue, I had the opportunity to attend the 2014 Millennium Experience in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, along with
Angela Reich our East Coast sales director. Before it started, I took a quick glance at the agenda, which promised some inspiring speakers and educational sessions and I was getting myself into note-taking mode. As we took our seats, an electronic female voice—reminiscent of a dance party video game—invited us to take out our phones, log onto playTME.com, and take our place on one of four color-coded teams. Immediately, all the stylists and salon owners who filled the ballroom were busily tapping their phone screens in order to gain enough points to launch their team’s rocket ship across the finish line.
This engaging activity, which woke us up better than an early morning cup of coffee, was the perfect introduction to Millennium Systems International Founder John Harms and this year’s ‘Game On’ theme. It also reshaped the conference experience for the entire audience.
Throughout the three-day conference, Millennium continually to engage participants by inviting them to play. General sessions all started with an audience participation trivia quiz. A live feed display on the onstage-screens let the audience post pictures and comments as the speakers gave their presentations. Every once in a while, the audience would explode in laughter at a post, causing the speaker to turn around and get in on the joke. During the breakout sessions, attendees could rate their educators and post questions.
Throughout the event, participants could rack up points by posting messages, photos, reposting, answering surveys and checking in to sponsors. And, like all great games, there were prizes at stake. Todd Tryall, from Sage Tryall Salon, accumulated the most points overall during The Millennium Experience and won a year of Meevo, Millennium’s latest generation of salon management software. Faith Adorno, from Jennifer James Hair Color Xperts, had the most shared posts during The Millennium Experience and won a Surface Pro.