Let’s be honest, conferences - live or virtual - are bloody hard work to put together.
From figuring out why you’re doing it, to who’s going to be there, to what experience they’ll have while they’re there - every detail is crucial.
Many have wised up to the fact that outcomes are the most crucial part of this equation. If you don’t first think about what your participants are going to get out of it you may as well be one of those people who can’t organise a ‘piss-up in a brewery’.
However, do we spend enough time thinking about the outcomes for their industry as a whole?
In our experience, plenty of attention is paid to the experience of and ‘takeaways’ for individuals at a conference but given that most conferences centre around a particular industry, are conference hosts missing an opportunity?
How can we better research, structure and deliver our conferences so that an industry can better benefit from the learnings of individuals at a conference? Here are some examples:
Speak to a wide cross-section of the industry to find the common pain point(s), and no, sending a survey is not the same thing.
Design your agenda so participants have the possibility to follow one common theme or ‘red thread’. This helps focus all their attention (and energy) on that one pressing topic or challenge. While it’s tempting to cover a broad range of topics, all relevant, it leads to dilution and fatigue.
Provide an environment that enables them to truly engage with their peers, not simply listen to the ‘experts’. This will motivate them to continue the conversation beyond the conference itself, and work on mutually beneficial solutions for the industry.
As industries around the world struggle to cope with the fallout from Covid-19 can (virtual) conferences help in the recovery?
We think so.