The Benefits of Living Outside of the Herd

“We’re all just one eureka moment away from changing the way we think,” says 2017 Changemaker Roger Haskett, who believes that we can change our behaviors—and our meetings—by looking at the familiar with fresh eyes.

MeetingsNet’s annual Changemaker list recognizes 20 outstanding meetings professionals for their efforts to move their organizations and the industry forward in unique and positive ways. Find all the profiles here.

Roger Haskett
Engagement Expert, Speaker, Facilitator, Conference Emcee
Engagement Unlimited
For being a fierce activist for more active, participatory, and inclusive meetings

Making Change
About five years ago, we dedicated ourselves to breaking the typical conference mold: people sitting in a dark room watching someone on a stage. We know there are better ways to create engagement and connection, and we started banging the gong—not just showing our clients how to do it, but also reaching out to other organizations and groups to add our voice to others also spreading the word. It’s now becoming a real movement as we enter the “age of engage,” where engagement is not just a jargon word or a feel-good fuzzy, but a word full of power and meaning.

The number-one rule of our active, participatory model for meetings is that what happens on the stage is only important in how it affects and informs the audience. Meetings and conferences have to be all about them. It sounds so obvious, but it is a revolutionary idea to some people. We’re here to make that journey happen by doing tons of education for meeting professionals.

I’m also writing a book on how people can be their best, most authentic self even when they’re under extreme stress—as we all are these days. If I can help people fire up their insides and get rid of the self-perpetuated issues that hold them back from being who they want to be, they can become bigger, better versions of themselves. Then we can start to fix the many problems of the world—including how we think about meetings and conferences.

Change Management
We’re all just one eureka moment away from changing the way we think, and when we change the way we think, our behavior also will change. If we walk into a meeting room that’s created for disengagement with all the chairs facing front and think it’s just a normal meeting room, nothing will change. If we walk in and instead say, “Ugh, this is not a useful room,” you start changing how meeting rooms are set up. Change the way you think about the world around you, and you will act differently.

Best Business Advice
This thought comes from motivational speaker Raymond Aaron: “Bite off more than you can chew, then chew like crazy.” I’ve taken that to heart.

Think Differently
I’ve lived my whole life outside of the herd, first as an actor/director, and now in my current role. I’ve been dancing and singing and pirouetting and jumping right next to the herd where most people are—not far away, but far enough that I can do what I want to do. And the herd has gravity—it wants you to come in where it’s safe. So while I say thanks for the invitation, I’m happy dancing my own idiosyncratic, happy life, learning from powerful people and books. Reading is my favorite superpower!

Got a Spare Hour?
Most of the time, I’m doing exactly what I want to be doing, so if I had an hour to spare, I’d just live more—play with my kids, watch a movie, and think about changing the world.


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