So, you’ve picked the perfect venue, booked the hottest speakers on the circuit and sold all the early bird tickets – looks like your conference is on track to be a roaring success, right? Well, possibly. There’s so much a conference organiser does have control over, and getting those decisions right is what makes for a good event. But if you’re looking to host a truly great conference, it’s some of the more nuanced elements on which you might want to focus.
We wanted to take a moment to talk to you about the importance of delegate engagement and what you, as a conference organiser, can do to keep your attendees focused throughout your event.
Your delegates’ engagement with your brand begins before they leave their house on the morning of your event when they look at their ticket to double-check where they need to be that day. Whether they’ve been to your event before, or are first-timers, it’s likely there will be some feelings of trepidation on their journey. Will I find the place easily? Who will be on the door? Will I know anyone when I first walk in?
Making sure your guests feel an instant connection with you from the moment they step foot in your venue is imperative to help them through any pre-event nerves. At Congress Centre, as well as having a dedicated registration area – which has brilliant, digital branding opportunities – we can also make sure your branding can be seen by your delegates as they approach the building. We also offer a vinyl wrap service which will get your branding on the walls and staircase as well as the digital screens throughout the building.
Immersing your guests in your brand throughout their time at your conference is a subtle, but effective way to help keep them engaged and focussed on their commitment to your event.
We’ve all experienced that mortifying moment when a speaker attempts to get some audience participation going and their pleas are met with a room full of people furiously doodling on their notepads and avoiding eye contact. It’s no fun for anyone, either on the stage or in the audience.
Every speaker’s dream audience would be filled with eager people, shooting their hands up to ask insightful, thought-provoking questions which fuel debate and impact everyone’s thinking long after your conference is over and a good speaker will know how to effectively encourage responses and warm up a room full of people so that interaction can take place.
But this is not something any organiser should leave to chance. It’s fair to say your audience is probably full of delegates who have the potential to contribute a huge amount to your content and your speakers are likely to be able to extract this from them, but it’s up to you to work with your speakers to help facilitate this.
As a venue, we have the audio-visual equipment for you to offer your speakers interactive polling (which can be used for your in-person delegates and your virtual attendees) and all the equipment you might need to host a panel-led discussion or Q&A session. This includes roving and lapel mics.
Leaving your keynote speaker until the final session in the day is an effective way to build buzz around your main event, and if we’re being frank, to stop anybody from leaving early! To keep your attendees fresh and ready to participate in the most important part of your conference, we would recommend keeping your other talks on the shorter side to avoid conference fatigue.
Plenty of tea/coffee breaks with small, sugary snacks (pastries or biscuits) will help give your guest a little boost in between sessions and ensuring lunch isn’t too heavy or carb-loaded will let your delegates sidestep an afternoon slump.
Moving your delegates into different spaces throughout the day will re-ignite their energy levels for every session. We find this is particularly important for events with more heavy-going content, like pharmaceutical and medical conferences. Here at Congress Centre, we have some stunning, varied event spaces which will help get creative juices flowing. Not only do our spaces vary in terms of aesthetics, but also size, with Congress Hall accommodating up to 500 seated delegates and some of our smaller meeting rooms which work well for just a handful of invitees.
In your delegates’ downtime, they might well be checking in with their contacts on social media. Think about what you could do at your conference to engage with them during this time. Are there any photo opportunities you could create that your attendees might want to share online? Have you made every effort to connect your social media pages to your delegates’? Posting throughout your conference will mean you can keep your engagement levels up during these planned lulls in the day.
Giving your attendees dedicated, quality networking time is an imperative part of any conference. Whether your guests know each other well or have just made contact for the first time that day, the hottest topic of conversation among all your delegates will be your event. No doubt everyone will be singing the praises of your conference and this is a fabulous opportunity for your guests to engage with each other, fuelling the positive vibes already in motion. (Just a note to say that serving delicious food and drink while these conversations are going on is never a bad idea!)
If you think our central London conference centre might be a good fit for your next event, give our team a call to discuss our current discounted DDRs. You can reach the team by calling 020 7467 1318 or by emailing them at firstname.lastname@example.org.