Companies conduct townhalls, employee meets and conferences every year but we see the same mistakes each time. From content heavy slides to mis managed time, back-to-back presentations and droning voices. Its almost as though there is a check list that gets ticked with little or no regard to what the audience is put through.

Run through this list and you will see what I am talking about:

1. The main speaker at your conference spends time on last minute edits to the presentation rather than a sound check.
What’s bad? The overall flow of the presentation is likely to be messed up
What’s Worse? The mike fails or the quality of sound is poor

 

2. The scheduled breaks are not on time
What’s bad? The audience is taken for granted and the break is scrunched down in time
What’s Worse? People walking out during the next presentation

 

3. Putting one content heavy presentation after the other
What’s bad? The audience switches off
What’s worse? No one recalls either presentation

 

4. Having a break-out session for groups to present in the afternoon
What’s bad?  No one is paying attention as everyone else is preparing for their presentation
What’s worse? The group puts up an excel sheet on the screen and someone is reading it out

 

5. Panel discussion with team leads on stage
What’s bad? Everyone in the panel wants to answer
What’s worse? None of them actually addresses the point

 

6. A DJ night and dance floor with a 95% male audience
What’s bad? Seriously?

 

How can you plan for a better conference?
Firstly, think back to any conference you have been a part of and what made it memorable? What stayed in your mind? why?
Was it a great speaker? Was it a celebrity? Was it at a great location? Did you meet someone special there? Was something done that created the memory?

Bottom line – how can you liven up your conference?

  1. Keep the theme simple and the message straight. Trying to accommodate every one who wants to make a presentation will kill your conference.
  2. Bring in the surprises – everyone expects a boring presentation. Surprise them. Get your speaker to complete the content well in advance and put professionals on the job to spruce it up.
  3. Stick to your timelines
  4. Make it more interactive – keep your audience on their toes. Not just with questions but with activities that tie in the content to context.
  5. Delight your audience – small gifts and fun sessions will keep the interest going
  6. If you are taking the group to an exotic location, give them time to soak it up. Try doing something like an amazing race at the location.
  7. Spend your money on making the participant’s “experience” better not on decor and design
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