Traditional Conferences are dead

Traditional conferences are dead

Traditional conferences are dead, or at least are on the brink of extinction. Instead of mourning their loss, it should instead be celebrated. Event organisers are becoming more creative which has led to an evolution in the way conferences are organised to focus more on engagement and positive, memorable experiences.

What is a traditional conference?

Picture a crowded room of delegates, trying to pay attention and write notes for the third consecutive hour but feeling the strain of what is referred to as ‘death by Powerpoint’. If you’ve ever suffered from this condition, then you’ve been to a traditional conference and there’s no wonder that they’re a dying breed. Quite simply, they’re dull.

Birth of engaging conferences

Instead of using the now tired format of a traditional conference, organisers are now thinking of creative ways to engage with their audience. After all, delegates have paid to attend to network and learn so it’s important to provide these as positive experiences.

Here are three ways you can make your conference more engaging:

1. Mix up the format

Considering your audience, use different formats for your conference programme throughout the day. This could include round table debates, panel discussions and group work. Getting your delegates to move about the room, physically engage and contribute to discussions is a great step to make sure delegates are actively participating to create a memorable experience.

2. Provide peer networking opportunities

Although icebreakers can feel a bit awkward, there are ways of reinventing them to encourage group networking in a positive environment.

Dedicating some time to networking is a must to make sure that people have enough time to speak and learn from others. In breaks, you could even use discussion topics, or areas of shared interest as table signs so that people can meet up with delegates who have similar issues or interests.

3. Don’t forget sponsor networking opportunities

Many conferences have exhibiting sponsors that will use space to showcase their products or services that are of interest to delegates. But in the emergence of engaging conferences, this no longer means having your sponsors have to use portable displays and being stuck in a dark corner.

With more focus on networking and engagement for delegates, sponsors should be given the same opportunity to evolve their presence for the benefit of both the sponsor and delegate (and of course conference organiser!).

Having an open, branded and uniform looking format for exhibiting sponsors can help to encourage networking – maximising the potential ROI from the sponsor’s point of view and making it easier for delegates to find what they’re looking for.

If you’re looking to evolve your sponsorship package to a more open format, speak to us on 0800 028 7580 with your conference needs.