Recently I was talking to a fellow event manager who is tasked with organising various conferences and they were saying that they would much prefer to be organising a dinner or team building exercise, or indeed any other type of event rather than conferences. This is the complete opposite to myself – I love organising conferences in particular over any other type of event project.
They asked me why this is the case and suggested to me that perhaps it is because of the structure? I disagreed and suggested that I am passionate about conferences for some of the following reasons.
Conferences Shouldn’t Be Boring
I firmly believe that conferences shouldn’t be boring. A conference is a fantastic opportunity to bring together thought leaders and top speakers as well as people with a shared interest. If the content is boring and un-stimulating you will quickly lose the attention of your attendees. A lot of planning, thought, briefing and support should go into the content.
A Conference Has Everything
A great conference can have everything; learning, interaction and participation, networking, catering and perhaps also additional elements such as exhibitors, dinners and supporting events.
It Doesn’t Have To Be Traditional
Who said that a conference has to involve long lectures in theatre style layout? Perhaps cabaret or classroom layout would be better? Or take the tables away completely and have clusters of seats to really surprise people! Likewise presentations can be revitalised – speakers don’t have to use presentation slides such as PowerPoint at all – they could just directly speak to the audience. Or could they just use a picture presentation or Prezi instead. Maybe you can have short TED style presentations? Or even use PechaKucha? Or would video or a panel discussion or questions from the audience be better use of the time?
I Like Surprising People
People often come along to a conference unsure what to expect and perhaps with pre-conceived ideas that it will be boring. It is very rewarding to hear back from these people that although they were reluctant before they arrived they have actually got a lot out of it.
Don’t Underestimate the Power of the Audience
The ideas and connections that can be made by bringing together those with a shared job role or area of interest is nothing short of exciting. Make sure the programme gives the opportunity for conversations and brainstorming to happen if you can.
Where Relevant Incorporate Elements to Enhance the Conference
You can enhance the conference in many ways. This may include the use of social media, sound, light, technology, facilitators, voting, event apps, etc. Always consider what is right for the event and what it will add.
Conferences are Good Value
Gathering together your staff or a network of relevant people to educate and inform is often the most cost effective way of disseminating information to large numbers. It is also a great change from the norm and can be a great motivator and team building opportunity.
These are just some of the reasons why I really enjoy organising conferences. Events Northern Ltd are always happy to produce no obligation quotations if you would like to explore the potential or running a conference or any event project.