Brain Friendly Engagement for Events - Interesting Breakfast Talks

Thanks so much to everyone who came along to Thursday's Interesting Breakfast. As promised, we'll be putting all the content up here. If you'd like more detail on anything you heard or experienced just drop us a line.

Jez kicked things off, sharing five ways that presenters can make their content more brain-friendly. These examples can be used to inspire senior leaders to find new ways to deliver content.

Earn Attention 

Establish the relevance of the topic with an anecdote or startling statistic. Jamie Oliver used a statistic in a powerful way to grab the audience at the start of his TED Talk on Obesity.

Change the Pace & Dynamic 

This can be as simple as breaking up a presentation with a special guest. Intel's CEO did something far more ambitious: a colleague joined him on stage, took a 3D scan of his body which was turned into an avatar and placed into a computer game.

Power of Live  Events

Finding creative ways to harness the immediacy of being face-to-face with an audience can be incredibly engaging. For a recent client presentation on demographics we inserted a worldometer API that shared live population data.

S.T.A.R (Something They'll Always Remember) 

Identify the S.T.A.R moment in the presentation and then find creative ways to land it. Al Gore famously used a scissor lift to dramatise the rise in CO2 emissions - following the line off the chart.

Participation in Live Events 

The previous ideas are all great ways to engage audiences with big ideas, but business events also typically need to land more granular content. Presentations aren't the best way to do this. Jez included two examples of formats that are less about speakers delivering content and more about audiences discovering meaning for themselves.

The first is a Traffic Light Session which sees the audience discussing ideas and indicating their response to it using voting paddles. The second is a Solution Room - a great way to harness the collective intelligence in the room and find practical solutions to people's challenges.

Set Design Trends for Events - Interesting Breakfast

Conor took the helm for the third our Interesting Breakfast talks, sharing four trends in set design.

Raw Materials 

Sweeping corporate backdrops are out, replaced by a vogue for more left-field materials. As businesses choose varied and creative venues we're seeing sets that echo the building's design. Like this nice scaffolding example we came across created for Google.


As events become more multi-dimensional, with the focus shifting from plenary sessions, so sets need to facilitate this. Below is an example of an event where the networking and plenary spaces have merged giving people a choice of how they engage with presentations.

360 Designs for Events

The desire for more intimate settings often leads to 360 solutions. This can of course be a challenge for presenters. The below trefoil set, designed by Live Union, kept the audience close without the need for presenting in the round.

Screen Solutions 

As innovative screens become more accessible, so an increasing number of events are replacing physical sets with interesting screen formats. Relying on fantastic screen content to engage their audience. The below screen design which we found with its beveled edges is a simple clean example.

In Praise of Powerpoint - Interesting Breakfast

Paul used his Interesting Breakfast slot to extol the virtues of PowerPoint. If you think PowerPoint has had its day - think again.

Animations for PPT

Paul started by sharing some of the exciting features found in the latest version of PowerPoint. Features such as Morph Transitions bring a level of movement and transition that was previously the preserve of professional animators.

Using Widescreen in Presentations

People imagine that wide-screen content has to be created in a different programme - Paul showed that in fact PowerPoint is perfect for non-traditional screen formats.

Having stepped through the process for creating wide-screen content using PowerPoint, Paul shared five benefits of going wide:

  1. Gets the audience closer to the action by opening up more landscape room layouts
  2. Encourages brain-friendly content with large powerful graphics
  3. Communicates a modern, tech savvy business
  4. Provides a more immersive experience
  5. Allows space for multiple feeds within a single 'canvas' - graphics / live camera / live data

As more venues install wide screens, the ability to create affordable, visually stunning, graphics will become vital, and PowerPoint provides the ideal solution.

Immersive Event Experiences

Immersive Experiences for Creative Events

The last of our Interesting Breakfast write-ups looks at Sophie and Kat's splendid dive into immersive experiences.

Their talk focused on brands that are merging live and digital experiences, toying with people's senses to achieve deep engagement.



A mirrored infinity room displaying real-time code was installed in San Francisco's financial district to engage people with the brand's big data expertise. The endless digital landscape was experienced by invited clients and the larger public, trippy selfies flooded social media.


An interactive installation at Milan Design Week was created to celebrate the design of the Galaxy S8. Visitors journeyed through mesmerizing digital installations. Using their device they were able to create their own avatar, before seeing it come to life on a series of screens that appeared to float within the space.

Chanel cat walk


If the previous examples took audiences into the future, Karl Lagerfeld's vision for the launch of Chanel's Spring 2019 collection was to take people to the seaside. The exhibition hall at Paris' Le Grand Palais was re-imagined as a beach with sand covering every inch of the floor, a tidal machine creating lapping waves breaking against the shore and a coastline depicted on a panoramic backdrop.

C2 networking ideas


Billed as the world’s most innovative business conference, this Montreal event brings together 6,500 people to challenge conventions. With Cirque de Soleil as a founding partner, the experience is anything but a traditional conference - aerial networking being just one example of radically disrupting how people connect.

These four examples show brands embracing the experience economy; finding new ways to harness the power of live to deliver highly creative face-to-face interactions.

Interesting October

Welcome to the latest ‘That’s Interesting’ featuring the event-worthy discoveries that have been circulating the Live Union offices during October. On 22nd November we’ll be hosting one of our Interesting Breakfasts at the Soho Hotel. If you enjoy this newsletter then you’ll love it! Tickets are available here
Most Interesting:
Chanel’s Stunning Set Design (Quick watch)
Hat’s off to everyone involved in this gorgeous production. Nice threads too.
Just Plain Interesting:
Very cool Tape Art (2min explore)
A whole new world of graphic display. Perfect for your networking space, office or exhibition stand.
Screens Re-imagined (5min explore)
A Live Union report exploring incredible new ways to bring stories to life at events.
Huge Illuminated Flowers (2min explore)
We’ve just ordered a bunch of these epic blooms for an upcoming event.
Bill Gates Releases Mosquitoes into TED audience (2min watch)
The power of a simple prop or stunt to make sure audiences remember your point.
Projection Helmets (1min explore)
Who wouldn’t want to don one of National Geographic’s immersive space helmets?
The KidCat Team (1min explore)
The place to go for feline performers who project a live feed of what they’re looking at through their LED eyes!
Some things to go to:
Videogames – Design / Play / Disrupt at V&A
Yayoi Kusama at Victoria Miro
Skyline Skating at John Lewis

If there’s something interesting you think we should include, please share it via

Screens Re-Imagined

Iceberg melts. Water floods arena. Audience engulfed in water. Bono avatar looms large over audience.

This mind-bending Augmented Reality spectacle awaits anyone with tickets to U2’s Experience + Innocence tour this Autumn.

These creative storytelling techniques are not the preserve of the stadium rock elite. New ways of delivering screen content are changing how we tell stories and communicate ideas within business events.

Why now is the right time to reassess how screens are being used at your events


Our everyday relationship with screens has entirely changed. We engage with content across multiple screens, of widely different dimensions, often simultaneously. Where once we simply watched, now we touch and swipe.
So, when it comes to events, audiences have higher expectations for visual content and want to engage with screens in new ways.


As businesses produce more multi-dimensional digital content, such as mixed reality product demonstrations or interactive sales presentations, live experiences are having to find new ways to use screens. At the same time, presenters are increasingly aware of the new possibilities that screens provide to tell their story.


Underpinning everything are rapid changes in technology, making new ways of using screens possible and dramatically bringing down costs. High resolution LED screens can be built to almost any shape, size or location and software innovations are making dynamic content available to a wider range of events.

Three ways to re-imagine your screens

1. Super-wide screens and beyond

The confines of the 16:9 format are long gone. Super-wide LED screens allow us to envelop audiences and change how we design content. Simply put, the screen is a canvass on which you can seamlessly arrange any combination of media: presentation graphics / audience response data / live camera / streams from beyond the event.

Whilst the default is often super-wide, it can be incredibly powerful to combine multiple screens and introduce other formats. The same content can run across multiple screens or be segmented to specific ones. This approach can be as engaging for an audience of 100 or 10,000 and can easily integrate PowerPoint or Keynote content.

The Power of Dynamic Graphics
Many visually stunning wide-screen events incorporate PowerPoint or Keynote content. But greater creative opportunities are to be found by using real-time graphics packages such as Ventuz. These allow you to create presentation content more akin to the graphics we’re familiar with on election night broadcasts or Sky Sports’ analysis.

Animated 3D graphics
TV quality visual effects

Live data
Feed live content into a presentation

Real-time rendering
Ability to change content at any point

Non-linear content
Presentations that can follow multiple paths

2. Projection mapping

Initially the preserve of the civic arts spectacle or movie launch, projection mapping has proven to be a powerful way to engage business audiences.

Projection mapping allows you to place content onto any surface, extending your content beyond a projection screen or doing away entirely with a screen and bringing a whole space to life.

The creative possibilities to transform a venue and transport your audience to a new place are immense. Projection mapping onto 3D stage sets is also a powerful way to deliver presentation content, different surfaces used for specific messages, to highlight stats or display video.

3. Augmented reality

Most people have some experience of AR, whether it’s arranging furniture using Ikea’s Place app or playing Pokemon Go. As with these examples, AR within event presentations melds the real world and computer-generated imagery.

The onstage presenter can be placed into a different composite world when viewed on screen. This opens up fascinating opportunities. If, for example, you have a large product that can’t physically be present at the event, the presenter can interact with it live on screen.

If you’d like to explore exciting new ways of using screens to engage your audience then do get in touch.

Coming next …

Screens Re-imagined – part 2 – Beyond the main-stage: new ways to use screens to create powerful personalised experiences

Interesting September

Welcome to September’s That’s Interesting. Our shortlist of the most useful and inspiring things we’ve come across this month in the world of events.

If you enjoy it, then please do share!

Most Interesting:
Great Augmented Reality Presentation - 5min watch
Brilliant example of innovating main stage content. For more of this kind of thing request a copy of our next thinkpiece 'Re-imagining Screens'!

Plain Interesting:
Inspiration from Ebay's Seller Conference - 3min read
Hyper-targeted networking, events within events, pop-up stages...

Real World Data Viz - 1min explore
Wonderfully creative ways to bring data to life in the real world. Perfect for networking areas.

Domino Artist - 5min watch
Surely we can find a reason to include a domino artist at an event!

Typographical Seating - 1min explore
Seating and signage become one with these alphabet chairs at the London Design Festival. Not to be out done how about the world's largest bean bag at London Fashion Week?

Gorgeous Modular Touch Sensitive Lighting - 2min explore
Lovely interactive event design idea with possibilities for audience collaboration (or just buy one for home)

Burning Man - Report From The Front Line Of The Experience Economy  - 3min read
How long until your event features Ken & Barbie cosplay or a 'break your caterpillar cage' yoga session?

Venue to know about:
Circus West
New event spaces coming on-line at Battersea Power Station

Things to go to:
Flo and Joan: Alive On Stage
Darkly witty musical comedy duo, live at Soho Theatre

Esquire Townhouse
Britain's most stylish pop-up members club hosts a 4 day extravaganza of fun, food and fashion! With talks from the likes of Christian Louboutin, a live performance from Tom Odell and even a Martini making masterclass!

If there’s something interesting you think we should include, please share it via


Interesting August

Welcome to August’s That’s Interesting. Our shortlist of the most useful and inspiring things we’ve come across this month in the world of events.

If you enjoy it, then please do share.

Most Interesting:
Wise words on building event narratives - 30min listen 
Insightful Gather Geeks podcast offers jargon free practical advice on mapping your event's story

Plain Interesting:
U2's amazing transparent LED screen - 3min read
Innocence + Experience tour is back in the UK this autumn with its incredible screen wizardry. Video here.

Debunking the TED myth - 4min watch 
Comedy skit to inspire the thought-leader within you - but really just to make you chuckle

The experience revolution and the conference - 3min read 
Debunking the ingrained behaviours of traditional conferencing

Plastic fantastic - building blocks for events - 2min explore 
Remodelled structures ideal for dividing up spaces

Inflatable fun - 4min explore
Go beyond a purely functional inflatable structure with these beautiful designs

Coming soon - spectacular London venue - 2min read 
The MSG Sphere a mind-blowing venue from the company behind Madison Square Garden

Things to go to:
The London Mastaba 
What's that floating on Serpentine? 

Instagramable 'plant based' experience
Complete with avocado ball pit!

If there’s something interesting you think we should include, please share it via

Augmented Reality - The new dimension for event audiences

A post by Katie Frettingham

Have you tried Ikea’s Place App? 

Even if you’re not in the market for a chaise longue it’s worth a go. It’s a great example of just how useful Augmented Reality (AR) can be; allowing you to view furniture in-situ in your home before you buy.

Using AR to superimpose computer-generated images into the real world isn’t just great for home furnishing, it has many exciting uses within events.

Accessing AR content requires nothing more than scanning an AR code, using either your phone’s embedded functionality or an AR app. At Live Union we’re finding that more and more of our events are using AR and we now have all the necessary skills in-house to design and deploy content.

In short, AR allows you to add a whole new dimension to the audience experience and has both engagement and practical benefits.

Engagement Benefits of Augmented Reality:

  1. People are able to personalise their experience, choosing the content that is most relevant to them
  2. AR can produce a more reflective experience, delegates interacting with the content at their own pace, ideal for more introvert personality types.
  3. It can stimulate conversation and connections. For example, on an exhibition stand sales staff can navigate potential customers through a non-linear journey, forming deeper relationships and insights.
  4. AR can be used to gamify the experience, providing new ways to help people understand and retain ideas.
  5. The interaction doesn’t have to be a one off - applying AR to post-event materials can be a great way to amplify your content beyond the event itself.

Practical Benefits of Augmented Reality:

  1. AR can be applied to multiple surfaces, be it screens or printed collateral – this makes it extremely accessible and adaptable, depending on the space or target audience.
  2. If you’re tight for space but you have a lot of information you want to share AR could be the answer. For example, if you have an exhibition stand with a small footprint you can still have your ‘hero image’ but using AR opens up possibilities to showcase photos, videos, stats, links through to social media etc. – they simply build over the image which is already in place.
  3. The beauty about the overlay graphics is that they’re completely customisable – we can create bespoke items in line with your brand guidelines, or you can simply provide us with the assets and we will work in partnership with you to apply them and bring your image to life.
  4. You have the choice as to whether your audience use their own devices to interact with your AR content or you provide tablets or some combination of the two.

Read more

Interesting July

Welcome to July’s That’s Interesting. Our shortlist of the most useful and inspiring things we’ve come across in the wide world of events.

If you enjoy it, then please do share it!
Most Interesting:

Interesting Breakfast 10min explore
We recently presented the very best of That’s Interesting over breakfast at 100 Wardour. These are the themes and links to some of the most popular stories and ideas we’ve shared. You can find videos of some of the talks on our blog
Plain Interesting:

Hashtag mosaics 3min explore
Creative, participative idea that gets people talking by merging the physical and the digital
Selfie factories 3min read
The value of designing Instagramable events
AR signs in the air 3min explore
As fans of AR’s ability to add a new dimension to events, we were always going to love this clever way of using AR to signpost locations and people
Five ways to make your next presentation better 1min read
“A presentation is expensive. It’s many of us, in real time, in sync, all watching you do your thing”
Why I’d never do a TED Talk 3min read
Rehearsed smugness and making the simple sound profound – she’s not a fan!
Something to go to:

The Future Starts Here    
Entertaining and thought-provoking exhibition that uses clever physical and interaction design to pose questions about the future
Something for your next BBQ:

The Monkey Mixer

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