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QEZoo helps event professionals become effective zookeepers


Event professionals discovered how to tame the lions, manage the playful monkeys, address the analytical elephants and nurture the dolphins at the QEZoo showcase.

With the help of motivational speaker Nigel Risner, who believes that people’s personalities have the predominant characteristics of one of four animals. Event professionals attending the QEII Centre’s event learned how by adopting the role of a zookeeper they become more effective leaders and can create greater imaginative events that appeal and hold the attention of each of the personality varying traits.

How to communicate effectively with everyone in the room

The performance coach estimates that people are only psychologically “in the room” 50% of the time and dispelled the myth that conferences and events need to follow a set format. Instead, he energetically illustrated how, with subtle changes to their approach, they can communicate more effectively and bring out the best of each animal type.

“Communication is not that complicated,” said Nigel Risner, who has advised numerous leading companies and brands including Barclays, Deloitte, GlaxoSmithKline, Sainsbury’s and Sky. “If we can recognise the characteristics and can understand what makes each animal tick, while putting them in the best possible surroundings and feeding them the right kind of food, we can communicate better and achieve greater success.”

To help bring the event alive, QEII’s Gielgud room was transformed into QEZoo, with animal theming and varying seating styles and activities to keep all of the personalities content and happy. The determined lions got competitive with Playdoh while fidget spinners kept the creative and extrovert monkeys amused, rubix cubes challenged the detailed and analytical elephants, and the caring dolphins had the chance to create a brood of animals to nurture from balloons.

How long is our attention span?

Keeping his talk to exactly 42 minutes – the average person’s attention span – Nigel demonstrated how to identify and implement creative strategies to stop the impatient, top-line lions from upsetting the sensitive dolphins, and how they can manage the short-attention spanned monkeys trying to joke with the forbearing elephants.

He said: “Every zoo needs a good zookeeper to maintain creativity and keep balance in organisations. Communication is a key attribute to learning. If event professionals adopt the role of coach rather than commentator and think about nurturing each of the animals and communicating in the correct style and language, life becomes a breeze, and everyone thrives.”

To add to its work in this area, the QEII commissioned some independent research among event planners, which revealed that the visionary lions dominate the sector at 38%. This is hotly followed by highly creative and motivating monkeys at 27% and the detailed, conscientious elephants at 24%. Whereas the considerate, team playing dolphins only make up 11%.

Nigel added: “We all need to remember communication is the most important tool we have to influence others. This includes decision-making, buying options and so much more. When we act as a zookeeper, we take into account the other person’s needs and create a win, win situation.”

QEZoo demonstrated how we can improve our communication style

QEII’s director of sales and marketing, Diane Waldron, said: “This was a great and informative session. We’re always keen to innovate and look at how things can be done differently – whether that’s through offering new event formats or the creative use of space. Everyone was able to relate to and spot each of the animal characteristics in their own teams and learn how we can all achieve greater things and lead more effectively by improving our own communication styles and approaches. It was also a wonderful opportunity to demonstrate the flexibility and versatility of the varying event spaces at the QEII.”


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