Editor’s Note: Welcome to Ms. B’s Novel Ideas! Smart Meetings has started a book club to circulate literature with ideas that can connect and inspire meeting professionals and others in the industry. Each issue will be a new topic and we encourage you to give feedback and let us know what you would like to read about in the future!

This Month’s Reads: Creating Experiences

Putting on a successful and memorable event requires execution of many moving parts—the venue, the attendance, the atmosphere, the food—the list can go on. Yet all of these elements are only components of the most important factor that makes an event effective and memorable—creating a visceral and memorable experience. For this month’s book club, Ms. B has chosen books highlighting the strategy behind creating an experience for attendees that will set an event apart from the others and lead to increased success.

"designing experiences" bookDesigning Experiences

– J. Robert Rossman and Mathew D. Duerden

In their frank and informative book, Rossman and Duerden illuminate that while many events industry leaders may be familiar with the term “experience economy,” they may not have the understanding or knowledge of what the term truly means or how to manifest it. Bordering on an academic read yet still accessible, the book pulls from research regarding memory and the micro and macro levels of experiences. With real-world examples and explanations of theoretical principles and fundamental basics of event design, Designing Experiences can take a meeting professional’s basic understanding of “experience economy” and elevate it with a skill set that can set their events apart from the rest.

“Designing Experiences” is not a simple “how to” book or your standard “tips of the trade” listicle. Rossman and Duerden approach the idea of creating meaningful experiences at events from an interdisciplinary standpoint with research collected by 1st person interviews, analysis of past events and citations of academic research on key factors which contribute to a human’s interpretation of experience, such as memory, intentionality and environment. Experience, case studies and scientific research all create a supportive framework for meeting professionals to learn all they can about creating experiences and manifesting the tools they need to make it happen.

In the very first sentence of the first chapter, Rossman and Duerden make it clear why the book was written and what the reader can expect to learn from it.

“Everyone wants to be part of the experience economy these days. The word experience is added as an adjective to almost everything (e.g., dining experiences, check-in experiences, employee on boarding experiences). Simply adding the word experience, though, does not automatically make something a worthwhile experience. In this section we examine the concepts of experience and experience design and develop definitions that are grounded but pragmatic; these are definitions experience designers can use to guide their work.”

The Experience Economy: Competing for Customer Time, Attention and Money

"the experience economy" book– B. Joseph Pine II and James H. Gilmore

Learn more about how major brands have secured a loyal customer base over multiple generations by creating memorable experiences and a customer-centric strategy. Using examples from brands like LEGO, Disney and Starbucks, “The Experience Economy” teaches meeting professionals the secrets of turning experiences into success.

The Power of Moments: Why Certain Experiences Have Extraordinary Impact

"the power of moments" book, with glass jar on it– Chip Heath and Dan Heath

The authors focus on the four elements that create the foundation for positive moments – elevation, insight, pride and connection. In “The Power of Moments,” readers can learn tips on how to harness these concepts to create a memorable experience.


 This article appears in the January 2024 and January/February 2024 issues. You can subscribe to the magazine here.