At a conference, the most important thing you can do is to make sure you create opportunities for people to interact with each other. Nothing is a bigger ice-breaker than a good conversation. And that’s what conferences are all about. Here are some of the common mistakes we have spotted with tips on how to fix ’em.
Loosen up the schedule
More speakers on the line-up don’t necessarily add more value for your attendees. On the one hand, attendees get drained after two to three sessions and need time to straighten out. At the same time, most people attend conferences and expos to conduct business and meet possible new partners. And we need to adjust our schedules accordingly.
Plan an interactive show between sessions, e.g. during lunchtime. Better yet, invite some artists, dancers, or even fitness instructors to fill the schedule every 90-120 minutes. And do not mind if most people leave the hall at that time. For those that want to relax, it will be an amazing sight to enjoy. Others can use the time for networking.
Make the sessions shorter
Research shows that people only keep their attention for 10-14 minutes before starting to lose focus. We can bring top speakers from all over the world but if the sessions are too long then our thoughts will drift away. And the audience’s happiness will also decrease.
Limit the monologues to 15-30 minutes and increase the time for Q&A sessions. There’s a reason TED Talks are so limited in time. This is long enough to get the essence out while the people are still able to follow. And the longer Q&A session will make the session more intimate and memorable.
Q&A questions app Worksup
Push for more interaction with the speakers
This is a mistake even the most senior event organizers make. They forget that people could easily listen to speakers via YouTube. And that the reason to attend conferences in person is to interact with the speakers.
There are three main elements that help you improve this and give the people what they want:
- First, equip moderators with technology that allows them to crowd-source audience questions. Because we know that most people do not like to ask questions via the microphone. But everyone is okay to write down the questions.
- Second, prepare some games for the audience that teach them to use the interactive tools.
- Third, have the speakers include simple tasks in their presentations. Something that the audience could solve during the presentation.
Interaction app Worksup
Arrange the space in a better way
Traditional theatre setups hardly inspire interaction. On top of that, they often remind us of our school days when we hesitated to ask questions for fear of looking stupid.
Offer attendees creative environments and design solutions for different formats. For example, set up halls so that people would sit at round tables and make ’em work in groups. Or bring the stage in the middle of the room, seating attendees around it – making it cozier and encouraging more conference interaction.
EXEX event in Riga with Worksup event app
Use User-Generated content
Nowadays, people love to create content by themselves. Still, most events have not started to use this for their benefit. Although, this could help with both broadening interactions in the audience.
A way to have participants generate content is by setting up a photo booth with props. This can help lighten the mood of the audience. By sharing pictures online, it’s possible for attendants to promote the event using fun pictures.
Creating an official event hashtag can also have a major impact on conference interaction. Besides having the audience use the hashtag, the speakers can also adapt it to further network the given event. Combining hashtags with user-generated content can make a big difference when it comes to conference interaction.
LifeHax in Romania with Worksup event app, live polling