At BigSpeak, we believe that a corporate event, when executed well, is not merely a glorified meeting, but rather an engaging, multi-sensory experience for all parties involved. It is a great investment of both time and money to ensure a successful corporate event with measurable ROI, which is why it is important to maximize the experience with sufficient planning, preparation, execution, and follow-up. BigSpeak Founder and CEO, Jonathan Wygant, recently attended a retreat to study ways that conference producers and event planners can improve attendee experience, and increase ROI for their events. In the spirit of improving the speaking and conference industry, Jonathan has compiled 9 of the top key takeaways from the retreat.
- Surprise and delight attendees with a multi-sensory experience. Instead of just doing a great job on the program content and networking, be accountable for a vision that maximizes learning, networking, inspiration, multi-sensory experience, and surprises that delight attendees. Music and art can help create an immersive conference experience that grabs attention and enhances retention, while hands-on workshops allow attendees to learn by doing.
- Don’t give up on “the impossible”. What’s coming after what’s coming next? It’s safer to think far out into the future than to force yourself to be realistic in what can happen next. If they say it can’t be done, ask ‘How much of this can be done?’
- Incorporate and encourage digital media. Consider using social media and online resources to not only lock in the learning, and publicize your event, but also solicit feedback from attendees. Future conferences require flexibility and adaptability. Online surveys and follow-ups are a great start, but if the most honest feedback comes from bathroom comments, monitoring #hashtag comments may be a close second in garnering feedback.
- Use an emcee or host for your event. An emcee can connect the dots, provide surprise, engaging humor, strategic truth-telling, and energy management to honor the best speakers and bring back the energy from the less exciting segments. Click here to view BigSpeak’s creative Emcees and Hosts.
- Hone in on the human aspect. Build in more social networking with longer breaks, mix-and-match icebreakers, spot-me-badges that identify attendees with similar needs and interests. Mix vendors, existing clients, and new prospects, with conversation areas in exhibits – save the memories with slideshows of conference pictures. Capitalize on providing face-to-face network experiences they can’t get online.
- Never stop learning ways to serve all of the generations you must attract. Stay up-to-date on the latest technological and social advances to engage audiences of all ages and learning modalities. Consider studying popular events such as ‘South by Southwest’ and TEDx or other events that cater to the younger generation and have gone viral.
- Think what you can do before, during and after the conference to ensure lasting change from participants. Include debriefing sessions, follow-up partnering, YouTube highlights, social media communities, resources positioned to support change, and intentional planning to ensure impact and ROI.
- Don’t forget the basics. Good food, enticing venues with a good mix of rooms and ballrooms, engaging, high-content speakers, unexpected delights, and meaningful music/staging! Make sure all speakers connect to support each other, harmonize and avoid duplication.
The content writers at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau are Experts on the Experts. They hold doctoral, masters, and bachelors’ degrees in business, writing, literature, and education. Their business thought pieces are published regularly in leading business publications. Working in close association with the top business, entrepreneur, and motivational speakers, BigSpeak content writers are at the forefront of industry trends and research.