A large percentage of conferences deal with subject matter which, to the outside world, might seem somewhat dry. Delegates attending these conferences are obviously interested in the content, but it’s up to the organiser to ensure they remain engaged and upbeat throughout a day of what can be intense and sometimes heavy-going seminars.
As the saying goes, a change is as good as a rest. Keeping your delegates in one room all day could run the risk of them getting bored where as a simple change of scene could inject an audience with a fresh energy and a new perspective. If you only have one room at your disposal consider switching the layout. There are lots of different options including theatre style, cabaret and boardroom that can be adapted to most speakers’ needs.
Fresh air is another easy tool to give your guests a boost. Even a few minutes outside – whatever the weather – will revitalise your group ready to re-focus on its next session.
If your schedule consists of a handful of similar sessions, for example a talk followed by questions and answers, you might find your audience becomes somewhat lacklustre by the end of the day. Consider including a round table or panel-lead discussion in your day.
Every event organiser knows that they need to feed their delegates, but many may overlook the importance of exactly what they serve. Carbohydrate-heavy dishes may appeal to your audience but are likely to induce mid-afternoon fatigue, whereas lighter, healthier menus will enable delegates to stay alert and on top-form throughout the day. Short, sharp caffeine and sugar breaks in between session will pep-up any flaggers.
Any amount of interaction from your audience will liven up your conference proceedings. The best way to encourage participation from your delegates is to help them form bonds between themselves. This will give them more confidence to speak their minds and engage with their peers. An ice-breaking networking session at the beginning of the day is an ideal way to kick start these relationships. We have a number of team-building games that might inspire your own session.
Whilst you obviously want to shout about your key note speaker and all of the other fabulous things you have going on at your conference in order to attract delegates in the first place, it never hurts to tease a little, too. A wild card, surprise speaker or contentious subject matter left until the end of the day could keep delegates on their toes… try and think of a way of tantalising your delegates to keep them in anticipation until the last moments of your event.
There’s nothing like the promise of a meal out or a party to help delegates through a long day of challenging seminars. Also, outside of the confines of a conference venue your delegates may well have more frank and open discussions about the day’s topics – all of which can be attributed to your event’s success.
We run numerous academic events every year at W12 Conferences and we understand how important it is to keep momentum going during conferences that deal with involved subject matters. Speak to our Event Management Team if you have any concerns about your next event at W12 Conferences, or if you’d like to ask for any help or advice. You can reach them on +44 (0)20 3313 1606.