Ever since promoting Tasia to the CEO role of Museum Hack, people have been asking me: What exactly do you DO now?

I’m still figuring that out! I love business conferences and workshops (kinda hate them, too) and have been attending many.

So when my friend Cathryn Lavery from Best Self Co asked me to help host their BestSelf Unlocked 2018 customer event in New York City, I SAID YES.

My header slide now says “Add us on Instagram for LOLs” because we’ve got a 🔥🔥 account with funny art history memes.

100 attendees gathered in Times Square to talk about productivity and self-improvement.

I worked with the event organizers to host a few awesome activities to encourage no-bullshit networking:

  1. My Keynote Speech,
  2. Speed Icebreakers Activity,
  3. Human Bingo Activity, and
  4. Lightning Talks.

“Raise your hands if you like speakers who ask engaging questions!”

My Keynote Speech

To start the day, the event organizers asked me to do one main thing: raise the energy level in the room!

I made an abbreviated presentation of my popular TEDx talk about starting my company Museum Hack. This speech is endearing, humorous, fast-paced, and fun.

I love speaking at events to inspire and motivate. Many companies hire me to do this!

This was a great crowd. They made it easy for me to start the day. It was my first time being the first speaker.

Random Speaking Notes

  • BestSelf had me as the FIRST speaker of the day. This was the FIRST time I’ve ever had that spot. I liked it, and the organizers liked it, because I am a high-energy speaker. It helped to set the mood and drive engagement for the day.
  • The abbreviated version of my speech only focused on how Museum Hack got started. I think it worked well because many people in this audience are interested in starting their own businesses.

Speed Icebreakers Activity

Next, we did one of my favorite things to encourage dialogue and networking: Speed Icebreakers!

Conferences are a great place to meet new people. Speed Icebreakers is an activity gets a lot of people out of their seats, actively engaged, and talking to new people.

Getting ready to start the Speed Icebreakers networking activity.

How to do Speed Icebreakers for a large group:

  1. Get a big list of Icebreaker questions,
  2. Instruct attendees to stand up, move to an open space, and get a partner
  3. Introduce yourself to your partner
  4. Facilitator (me) asks first icebreaker question, for example: If you were to play an Olympic sport, what would be it be?
  5. Facilitator times 30, 60, or 90 seconds of crowd discussion
  6. At end of time, signal to SWITCH partners
  7. Repeat with a new Icebreaker.

At this event, we did four different Icebreaker questions with four different partners. It took about 10 minutes total. The ROI was huge: the activity was an energy boost and got people mingling during a critical time.

Obligatory artistic black and white photograph of an attendee having fun during Icebreakers. Not staged!!

Human Bingo Activity

Human Bingo was a game I first did with the Museum Hack team at the Word Of Mouth Marketing Summit in 2015. (See our case study here on the activity, including a video!)

This is an activity that is… well, just read the Museum Hack case study about what it is, how to set it up for your conference, and why it is awesome.

This is what the bingo cards looked like.

Human Bingo is great activity to get people moving and talking at events or conferences.

Attendees mingling in the morning. The cards in their hands are for Human Bingo.

Printed Materials for Human Bingo

The BestSelf team did an excellent job of writing the Human Bingo questions and designing the card.

Handout icebreaker activity to mix up the group in the morning

Someone holding the Human Bingo card, clearly having fun talking to another attendee.

Summary of Human Bingo: It’s a great activity to provide your attendees with an excuse to meet a lot of people at the start of the day. Email me if you want help setting it up at your next event. Or hire Museum Hack to do it, like we’ve done at huge corporate events! See this case study.

Lightning Talks Activity

For the last activity that I helped with, we asked people to make a short 1-minute speech based on the prompt of, “What’s one thing you discovered about yourself that you didn’t appreciate before?”

Event organizers: Try this activity! It requires a solid facilitator, but has the potential for a big pay-off.

This is an idea I’ve been experimenting with – Lightning Talks – at my cocktail parties. The BestSelf founders adapted the prompt to better fit their audience. Then I introduced the concept, helped model the format, then coached and supported attendees for rehearsals before their speeches. For some, it was their first chance to do public speaking in front of such a large audience.

Me getting ready to introduce the Lightning Talk panelists

All of these people made Lightning Talks! And more.

Sample participant in the Lightning Talks exercise at the BestSelf Unlocked event

Lightning Talks were a big success because they created a bond with attendees, raised the energy level after lunch, and allowed some attendees to have a breakthrough or highlight moment. The total time for this activity was about 10 minutes. Special thank you to Dax, Kyle, Martin, Stephanie, Eathan, Cherryl, and Ian who volunteered and delivered awesome lightning talks.


My activities and hosting helped this already-awesome event be EVEN MORE AWESOME.

Special THANK YOU to Cathryn and Allen, founders of BestSelf, for inviting me to participate.

Allen Brouwer and Cathryn Lavery, Founders of BestSelf, and me on the roof of the Times Square venue

BestSelf Unlocked Event Graphics

Screenshot of the header image for BestSelf Unlocked landing page

The agenda for BestSelf Unlocked 2018. Apologies for the poor scanner!

BestSelf Unlocked 2018 Speakers

The founders Cathryn and Allen spoke, as well as Rob Scott, Matt Walker, and myself. We also had a guided meditation from an instructor at MNDFL.

Headshots of the various speakers including Speakers including Cathryn Lavery, Allen Brouwer, Rob Scott, Matt Walker, and Nick Gray

Speakers including Cathryn Lavery, Allen Brouwer, Rob Scott, Matt Walker, and your’s truly

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