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Why A Company Conference Is More Than Just Exchanging Information

business-eventCompany conferences have a bit of a bad reputation. Those staff who have to attend them as a compulsory matter can see them as an inconvenience, exhausting, or simply – boring.

However, it doesn’t have to be this way. Properly planned or with the help from an external company, conferences can be made exciting, relevant and worthwhile for delegates.

Read on to find out how you can make your conference a hot topic of conversation, for all the right reasons.

High Energy

One of the reasons people hate conferences so much is that they require a lot of sitting and passive listening. With no interaction, the mind wanders to your plans for later that evening and before you know it, you’ve totally lost the speaker’s train of thought and you have no idea what you’re listening to.

A good conference requires interaction from the speaker to the audience. It means getting the delegates up on their feet and moving about. Only then do you know they are fully engaged.

You don’t need to get them doing the Macarena across the room, but you do need to know they are listening. Interacting with the audience, by asking questions and facilitating discussion and debate amongst different voices, is one way to do this.

Another way is to mix up the length of time speakers are talking for or where they present from. Consider introducing Pecha Kucha talks (Japanese for chit chat). This involves a series of speakers taking it in turn to talk for five minutes each. Listeners don’t have time to tune out and it certainly keeps momentum going in the room.

Motivational Speakers

Choose the right motivational speaker and you’re well on your way to making your conference a success. Think carefully about who you ask to come in. They must be relevant to your audience, not just someone who was free and able to do the job for a reasonable fee.

It’s a good idea to check over exactly what it is they are going to talk about as well. Would your delegates be able to relate to this person and their experiences?

A good event management company can do all the running around and checks for you. They are also much more likely to be able to get a decent speaker at a fair price.

Using a third party to help organise your conference is also a good way to get another person’s perspective on your event and will be able to let you know if they think your day is too long or if more activities should be included.

Proper Networking

Conferences are a great place to network. But what if you know your team aren’t so great at small talk and swapping business cards with purpose, rather than just collecting them like Pokémon cards?

Networking isn’t a game of ‘who collects the most wins’. It is an opportunity to connect with people who might be able to help you or for you to connect professionals in your network with other likeminded people. It’s about facilitating business.

Set up a large networking pin board with a ‘What do you need help with?’ section and an ‘I Can Offer…’ section. This is a good conversation starter and allows people to pin and take cards from the board without having to engage in small talk if they don’t want to. With this approach, even the shyest delegate will be able to get something out of the networking period.

People Power

Remember, people pay large amounts of money to come to conferences. They want to be able to walk away having learned or experienced something they wouldn’t have been able to achieve on their own.

Get your delegates to sit together on tables. Don’t forget to provide plenty of fresh, cool water too. Water can help your brain function more quickly and will reduce tiredness in your delegates. Working together on tables encourages collaborative work and facilitation of discussion.

Conferences aren’t just about being spoken to, but are also about the people you meet and the sharing of ideas and thoughts on industry matters.

Utilising the skills and experiences of an established and reputable event management company really is the best way to make sure your delegates get the most out of the day.

In an age of social media, you want your delegates to be leaving on a high and sharing their good experience online. After all, isn’t personal testimony the best way to recognise that your event has been a success?

Charlie Berry is the Event Director for London based Zing Events, a corporate event company that delivers innovative and creative team building activities.

License: Creative Commons image source

Posted in Social Networking.

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