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When who’s in the room matters more than your agenda

We know what you’re thinking. How can ‘who joins your event’ be more important than ‘what they’re joining for’? Allow us to explain.

When originally conceived, conferences were about bringing people together to discuss and exchange ideas. Delegates congregated to make decisions that would help resolve an issue or remove a roadblock.

For that to happen, the right people had to be present. People with first-hand knowledge and experience of the issues, as well as a stake in the outcome. And people with the ability to affect change afterwards: no matter how small the impact.

These days, the best conferences are the ones that recognise the need for broad-based participation and an engaged audience.

But what does that mean?

Firstly (as we’ve said many times before), it’s down to purpose and intent. If you’re gathering your community to discuss issues and figure a way forward, in other words, drive real change, then representation from every stakeholder is crucial.

Think about it: if only part of the impacted community is present, then logically you can only unpack part of the issues, and in turn generate partial solutions… meaning you only fix part of the problem.

In fact we’d argue you not only miss fixing a problem, you end up creating a new one!

But how do you get the right people in the r(Z)oom? We have a post dedicated to just that.

And once they’re there, then what happens? In some ways, that’s the beauty of the event we’re describing - often called an unconference: you don’t need a convoluted agenda filling every minute with presentations and faux points of engagement.

Instead you build a pathway that guides participants through a journey. It starts with framing the issue(s), then you invite participants to share where they are today and where they want (or need) to be, and what’s preventing them from getting there.

The platform then serves as a means of workshopping solutions for achieving their objectives, drawing on the collective knowledge and experience of all participants. Which loops back nicely to why it’s important to have the right people in the room.

We like to think of it as brainstorming (at-scale) that actually works.

As you might suspect, staging an unconference is not a simple exercise. Because yes, it involves a different level of planning and resources. But such matters shouldn’t get in the way of achieving your outcomes, especially if you’re looking to be the change your industry desperately needs.

What’s more, we’re here to help!

Hit us up if you’d like to know more.

- Team UC


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