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What Exhibitors can learn from kids

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lego

By Eric Devericks, Chief Experience Officer

The other day I stopped by a friend’s house to catch up, discuss work, and share a story or two about fly fishing. While we talked, my friend’s son sat on the ground next to us, playing with a stack of Legos. Periodically, he’d stop to show us what he was building. (“This is a bridge!” “A house!” “A boat!”) But mostly he was just happy to be playing, completely absorbed in his own world.

Once a kid starts to make something with their hands, magic happens. Time and other distractions begin to melt away and they are completely lost in the moment. As a parent we relish these moments not just for our sanity but because our intuition tells us they are meaningful experiences for our child. 

In his research and a 2004 Ted Talk psychologist Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi  would call this a “flow state.” This kind of hyper-engagement shouldn’t be confused with the blank stare typically associated with tv shows or videos. A child engrossed in an interactive state of play is completely present, wholly engaged, and totally satisfied.

In my own life there are precious few things (drawing, fly fishing, and doing Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) that draw out the kind of hyper-focus that makes the rest of the world melt away. But some of my most profound memories, moments, and experiences involve those activities.

Which made me think about the work I get to do and the things that I get to create every day. Immersive, interactive experiences (like the ones we create for our clients) allow access to the deep parts of our brains. People that are fully present and deeply engaged are more likely to form a meaningful connection with the things they are interacting with — in a way that traditional marketing or media couldn’t ever touch.

So take a lesson from a toddler. If you want our audience to interact in a deep, meaningful way, give them something they can interact with and experience.