We know how to transform an average conference into an exciting event that will engage attendees and leave them wanting more.
We’ve been hosting events since the nineteen-fifties and since our first event the definition of a conference has changed. With the introduction of digital, tech and improvements in event production, conferences are more engaging than ever and have become a place attendees want to be rather than a place they have to be.
Read on to find out some of the tricks we’ve learned to end the day with as many people in the room as you started with.
Providing your guests with the best experience possible is central to the events planning process for all formats of events, however, conferences have classically fallen into predictability. Here are a few pointers you can use to change that!
Entering a conference can be intimidating, especially if there are large amounts of attendees coming from multiple divisions or several organisations. Starting off your conference with engaging networking activities can help attendees feel more comfortable and make for an enjoyable experience. Icebreakers could take the form of introduction interviews, live polling, quizzes, or even interactive games.
A great MC can bring your conference to life. An MC does more than introduce speakers and announce individual parts of the day. The right MC has great humour, timing, and knowledge of the topics at hand, as well as current events. This makes them a valuable addition to your lineup – creating and maintaining the atmosphere you desire at your conference.
Your MC could be an internal member of your organization with strong interpersonal skills, an external professional related to your industry, or a comedian. The latter suggestion is particularly helpful in drawing in attendees.
Make sure you appeal to the human nature of your attendees, providing relatable content throughout your event. People are more likely to enjoy your event if they can make an emotional connection with what they are hearing and seeing. No matter what the theme of your conference is, be sure to include content that resonates with your audience.
The itinerary for your corporate event should also flow. You want the topics discussed, activities, and even the format of the conference to contribute to the overall experience.
Increase engagement by giving your attendees something to keep their eyes and ears stimulated. Video can make up part of your presentations and be an overall part of the experience. You may want to use video content to market your conference and increase audience engagement during the event.
Sitting through long talks and presentations for days is tiresome, leading to shortened attention spans and mental fatigue, resulting in an unpleasant event experience. Regular breakout sessions give your attendees the chance to stretch their legs, take a toilet break, and refresh themselves.
Don’t have the same activities, catering options, speakers, and themes for your conference each year. Keep your attendees guessing by employing the element of surprise. If attendees know what to expect each year, attendance and engagement are likely to dip significantly. Gaining attendee feedback after your conference is important too. Post-event surveys help you review what attendees enjoyed, and what needs improvement. Use this information to measure event success and take the experience to new levels for future events.
Due to the advanced capabilities that technology has provided us, there are now even more ways to create engaging and immersive experiences for attendees at your conference. As well as modern methods of immersion, some twists on more traditional elements can also keep engagement levels high. Consider the following to give your conference the wow factor.
Depending on the event’s subject, this could be something your guests didn’t anticipate, making for a nice change from the usual. Providing virtual reality content via headsets or in an augmented fashion, possibly via an event app or through attendees’ phone cameras, is excellent to create a more immersive and engaging conference experience.
Get audience participation in full swing by including interactive activities in your programme. This could take the form of group polls and games, live q&a, panel discussions, or even recognizing individual/team achievements. No one likes to be ‘talked at’ for a long period of time; so be sure to incorporate plenty of activities that include audience participation.
Branding your event is just as important as your event schedule. The branding journey starts way before your actual event takes place. Pre-event, you will have developed the event brand using collateral and online campaigns to promote the conference. Work with your chosen venue to ensure signage is branded. Include branded goodie bags or even branded catering, such as cakes with your logo on them.
Create areas with the event’s branding, allowing participants to have fun while promoting the conference on their social media.
Your attendees will benefit from getting a chance to socialise as well as listening, watching, and participating in your conference programme. Networking, although useful, can also be daunting for some – there are various ways the traditional networking format can be improved upon. Consider including new rules of engagement, such as ‘no speaking to people you know for the first hour’ to avoid cliques forming. You could also give attendees conversation starter cards to help avoid social nerves!
If you incorporate the tips above when planning your conference your attendees will remain engaged throughout the duration of the event, be more likely to stay put and come back next time. This kind of engagement means post-event, attendees are more likely to share their experiences with others and create positive word of mouth.
Our team has a wealth of experience in event planning. If you host an event with us, we’ll help make the most of our venue and bring your brief to life.
Our venue is fully equipped with state-of-the-art event tech. It’s ideal for various-size conferences with 16 different event spaces catering for 20-500 guests.
For more information on our venue spaces contact our team on firstname.lastname@example.org or by calling 0207 467 1318.