With a growing desire to increase impact, exposure, and strengthen the legacy, what exactly does it take to create a showstopper conference?
Presenters and keynote speakers are the backbone of successful conferences, because they are the ones that can mold the experience, elevate the educational aspect, and spark engagement. But as the scientific content of the conference is developed and agreed upon in advance, is there enough room for innovation?
How about unexpected speakers?
One idea to keep in mind is how conference managers can alter their approach to selecting a certain type of speakers. Explore different possibilities and look at including keynotes from other industries, which at first sight, might seem distant from the nature of the conference, but it can ignite new ideas and trigger different types of inspiration.
We live in a time where everything is about experiences; therefore, the pressure is on for associations to go the extra mile and differentiate from competition.
As important as it is to let the content do its magic and engage attendees, conferences cannot overlook their experiential core.
There lies the approach of heeding the attendees' background, expectations, and emotions. Whilst the high quantity of plenary sessions, meetings and exhibitions promises enough of a learning and networking space, turning a blind eye on activities that rejuvenate the mind leads to missed opportunities. Consider offering hands-on experiences, outdoor or wellness activities, and providing attendees sufficient opportunities to break, recharge and connect with each other.
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The digital age is well upon us and conferences have surely been exposed to its impact and value. Are associations doing enough to incorporate technology into their events? In a highly connected environment like the one we are in, systems that provide geo-location and time information can be of great use. For example, by linking the conference's registration software to such systems, attendees can easily check-in via their mobile phones when they are close to the venue, as well as receive directions about the location, and peers or colleagues that are around to connect with, etc.