Expect many twists and turns when it comes to business conferences – conference energising is a thing, and one that is growing in popularity as organisers aim for a sea of happy, sharp, and focussed staff, whether their event lasts a few hours or a few days. If you’re organising a conference, and looking for inspiration as to how to achieve the right balance between work and play, corporate message and team building fun, then here are some tips to keep your staff fully engaged.
Create an Experiential Area for Delegates
You only have to look at event and marketing publications to see news of the latest unique pop-up experiences brands use to promote their products, both on the streets or at big name events. Why shouldn’t the same techniques apply to conferences?
Evian, a long term supplier to the Wimbledon Championships, has taken everything from sampling stands and an Evian Ball Hunt, to a VIP lounge with ping pong table to SW19. If you’re promoting a new product, revamping an existing one, or want to introduce some of your clients and their message to your staff, why not try some of these techniques and create a luxury space to relax, have fun, and learn.
Introduce a Programme of Different Style Conference Sessions
Conferences are no longer the stomping ground of multiple PowerPoint presentations in lecture theatre style settings – now it’s all about variety.
Why not mix up the programme to include Q&A’s with business leaders, TED Talk style powerful presentations from special guests, or why not try panel discussions with audience questions and opinions part of the mix. Optional workshop sessions can give delegates the chance to learn new skills, or take some time out to network with colleagues in dedicated refreshment zones. Maybe you can even provide rolling coverage in the lounge area so everyone can keep up with what’s happening.
Use Event Energisers to Revitalise the Audience
Business conferences can be quite intense, especially on the business side with multiple presentations, talks and workshops, so that’s where conference energisers come in.
They can arrange team building activities which are great icebreakers, or varied afternoon networking options that often involve new skills, and a lot of laughs.
Conference energisers are a creative bunch that can offer anything from a trading floor stock exchange challenge, to an apprentice style smoothie creation and launch task. Ice sculpting, musical instruments and graffiti painting will also bring out the creative side in your employees, and maybe some of them even have some hidden talents or side lines you can showcase.
Take Your Staff Off-Site
However stunning your venue and event schedule may be, you have a whole town, city or client base at your disposal so why not organise an away afternoon (or even two), or some after-hours entertainment. Maybe you have clients that can provide you with entertaining site visits, your conference is just minutes away from theatres, museums, or tourist hot spots, or you could just arrange getting-to-know-you drinks in a local bar. Whichever option you choose, it will help you achieve the right balance between work and play.
Add value to your business conference with some of these hints and tricks, or maybe come up with some of your own. Create a refreshing, energising and informative programme of events, mixed with some creative activities and your staff will be discussing your next conference around the water cooler for many weeks and months to come.
About the Author
Charlie Berry is the Event Director for London based Zing Events, that delivers innovative and creative team building and event activities.
Photo credit: Nicole Honnan