You're reading Entrepreneur India, an international franchise of Entrepreneur Media.
An event's success comes from the way it strikes a balance of providing functional information and a pleasant experience for attendees to any business conference, convention or seminar.
Adding "value" is the key to success. The term "added value" is not alien to those associated with a business.
It is, in fact, all about enhancing event services before it reaches the end-services consumer and something which clients are demanding more and more with every passing day.
What has driven the events industry in recent years is its delegates' craving for "memorable experiences". Business leaders label this social force as the Experience Economy - economy that is fuelled by demand for live and extended experiences.
Picture your company AGM to be a well planned annual holiday get-together, with a critically designed events structure that helps you communicate company performance reports and execute strategic elections through interactive activities and business games.
Wouldn't you be able to draw some serious, yet most streamlined attention to the said event?
Take a refreshing break from the long lectures and panel discussions. One may infuse the following to curate the perfect conference and business convention show flow:
1.The Power of Voice & Choice
Your audience, the attendees, do not come to sit and listen passively. Get them to project their unique knowledge over their subjects, share their expertise and business experiences. In case of Panel Discussions, account for one or two panelists straight from the audience. Interactive formats like asking for recent business innovation strategies allow shy participants to become part of the story.
Let attendees manage their own sessions, share their knowledge in small groups and choose the topics that they truly care about. By encouraging self-facilitation, you will create very effective and highly customized experience for everyone.
An interesting new format of conferences is called "Unconferences". These are conferences built on the notion that there is much more expertise in the audience than there possibly could be on any existing panel on stage. Moreover, the agenda is set not by the facilitator, but the audience on site. Any attendee may claim time and space to start a fresh discussion on any matter bearing in mind the overall event agenda.
2.Inspire to Network
It is often seen, that the much-needed tea breaks, evening snacks, and coffee sessions are seamlessly organized to flow into the conference rooms rather than encouraging attendees to step out and indulge in some casual chai pe charcha bonding minutes. Remember, "breaks" are often overlooked but represent a priceless part of every conference. We focus on designing sessions that may be seamlessly bridged into the networking breaks without really disrupting the ongoing event agenda. Key takeaway: Connect and reflect via networking!
3. Stream the Event Experience
In the day and age of social networks, it is essential to strike a confluence of real time attendees, both on-site and online. Go Live! Have a dedicated team that will take care of your online participants, moderate the discussion and make sure their questions and comments are heard on site, and addressed of course!
Keep your event community alive. I say the event is not over as soon as my crew packs up their stuff, send off the attendees and board their flights to get back to the pavilion. Over the next few days, we'd rather focus on the perfect wrap up with gathering and sharing the best content photographed and recorded to spread the event core message and create the foundation for the next year. Encourage attendees to tag, share and create an active post-event experience. Key Takeaway: Maximise output with the rapidly evolving digital space!
4. Eliminate Downtime in Between Sessions
The goal of any business event is to keep your guests and attendees, 'on-site' between sessions, instead of running to their hotel rooms or cars. I would like to mention a recent addition to our corporate programme strategies at White Salt Entertainments, the careful strategic addition of appointing "Floor Hosts" to walk around and chat with attendees and delegates. You may also consider having phone charging stations in the common area or adding small LED screens in the breakout zones that give out conference updates or speaker interviews.
5. Experiential Events
Coming up with an exciting and innovative idea that is logistically possible, well in line with your event objectives and within budgets is challenging indeed. However, incorporating innovative activities, product demonstrations, impromptu 20-second creative business pitches, et cetera, are small ways towards massive event participatory success. Start gauging your event achievements by the level of active participation and post event conversations. Remember, an experience that stays.
6. Offsite Formats
Consider offering post-event entertainment options that help keep the attendees engaged after hours, instead of retiring to their hotel rooms. Try and include happy hours, local sightseeing tours et cetera. Initiatives like these often build a lasting friendship and boost the conference experience beyond just learning.
Attendees today, invest their time in not just conferences but in cleverly drafted experiences. Bear in mind, they want to access content they can't read or access on their own. Everything, ultimately, boils down to interactivity in this modern era of "content on demand". We have come a long way from conferences and seminars that relied on monotone lectures and contextual PowerPoint slides to fuel their presentations.