What is the worst thing you could hear from your delegates? Dull, boring, didn’t learn anything I didn’t know already…. sounds familiar?
How can you make your next conference a must attend event? Here are a few of our ideas for you to try:
1. First of all think about what your conference’s objective is. You really need to have a purpose and a goal for the conference, so spend time considering this and establishing exactly what you hope to achieve from your conference. Once you have decided this and you have a clear idea, then it will automatically dictate how the rest of your plans develop.
2. If at all possible, don’t try and do all the planning yourself. As your conference or meeting will mostly be about the delegates attending, why not ask them for their input on invited speakers, topics for discussion and the general design of the event. This way you will share the workload and also generate a feeling of goodwill and make each delegate feel involved.
3. Make a change to your conference environment. Try using a different location to the traditional hotel space. There are so many unusual and unique venues to choose from now which cost no more than using a hotel. This sort of change shows your delegates that they can expect something completely different and is bound to engage them in discussion.
4. Always remember that conferences are about people and not organisations. Be sure that your senior executives and decision makers come across as real people who can communicate with all levels of delegates, from the top right down to the tea lady if you have one! Perhaps invite some of the delegates to tell their own story of how their work helps to move your business forward.
5. Try to give some thought to all elements of the conference. Sometimes you can have a great opening to your conference, but forget about the rest. Delegates get more interested an animated if they are not sure what is coming next so if you can incorporate different stage sets and perhaps also incorporate some music, you will have the makings of an excellent and productive conference.
6. Rehearsals are a very important aspect of any conference as they reduce the risk of a speaker becoming tongue-tied or tripping on their lines. Invite all speakers to a formal rehearsal to be sure that everything should run smoothly on the actual day.
7. If the purpose of the conference is to educate your delegates, try to find unique ways of setting up the room to encourage conversation and interaction by avoiding the traditional theatre style with speaker in front. If you have a more relaxed set-up where delegates sit across tables they can discuss the content much more easily and this should therefore mean that they will remember it after the conference has ended.
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