6 steps to a Captivating ConferenceWritten by Richard Bull Aug 14 2014
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6 steps to a Captivating Conference
Richard Bull is Development & Events Manager at 20 Bedford Way, a new bespoke conferencing venue which includes the flagship space Logan Hall, a custom-built theatre with tiered seating for a maximum of 933 people. Logan Hall has outstanding acoustics and excellent sight lines with a promise of a fully serviced and central venue to accommodate captivating conferences at an affordable price.
Make it showstopping! – Search for a venue which has a theatre. Staging, lighting and AV are always an advantage and when a venue can include these in your package it’s a bonus. Make the most of spotlighting and mood lighting for your speakers or special highlights of the event. This adds to the drama of the event and helps to put people in zone and in the mood to think and exchange ideas on topics. Make it a show stopper and captivate your audience!
Get app happy – Many of us now carry more than one device with us anywhere we go. Embrace the world of digital conferencing and create a paperless event. Encourage delegates to use a dedicated conference app (you can arrange to create a bespoke app just for your conference). This will help manage any documents relevant to the event and offer guests the chance to download and exchange files and notes throughout the day and thereafter. This is also a good way to monitor and register feedback and gauge how well you deliver.
Go social – Share before, during and after the event using Twitter handles and hashtags. This will help you build your repertoire and PR your event to the industry. Ask everyone to get involved and include social links and names to mention on invites, communication and even on banners or display screens throughout the conference itself. Post event you can also create a Storify to show people the highlights of your conference. This is also a good catch up tool for those who could not attend including any important stakeholders who need require a summary of what went on.
Stay connected – Making digital device battery life last is a daily concern for most people these days. A really simple way to keep your conference attendees happy is to provide them with opportunities to charge their devices by stocking up on plug sockets in the conference room. Or, even better, supply them with wireless phone and tablet chargers. Remember, this benefits you too. How can they engage with you on social media during the conference without any battery life?
Speaker clout – Lining up an exceptional speaker could be one of the most important things you do, if you can find the right candidate for the job then you’ve nailed it. Think about who can deliver excellent content for your audience? To track down some potential names try Slideshare for keywords associated with your event. This will help you find presentations delivered on the subjects you cover and you will get a good sense of the quality of content out there and who is presenting their ideas in the most visually compelling way. Also try looking for ‘influential’ people on social media using tools like Klout, PeerIndex and BlueNod. If they are very active socially then the chances are they will make brilliant speakers.
Networking in vogue – The icing on the cake. The two go hand in hand. In a digitally dependant society over ruled by mobiles and tablets, people appreciate a good old fashioned networking session to get face to face, unwind and chat. Networking is still a big part if conferencing so don’t forget that the better the food and drink is, the happier your delegates will be when they leave. After the serious bits are over leave enough time for everyone to enjoy a responsible and well deserved drink together especially at the end of the day.