How to Make This Year’s Conference Better Than the Last
Annual conferences are a great way to facilitate networking and cultivate learning among industry professionals, but events like these can get stale over time. The biggest mistake a conference host can make is to use the same event formula each year—no one wants to attend a conference when there is nothing new to learn or hear.
Keep your conference attendees engaged, and your agenda fresh by incorporating the following tips.
Refresh your content
Conferences come in all shapes and sizes, but the most important aspect of creating a fresh event is to refresh the content you are offering. Pay attention to important news and capitalize on trends within your industry. As a result, the content of you offer will feel fresh and new.
Also, try changing up the way you deliver the content. Bring in exciting speakers and use social trends to shape your program. You may even want to introduce a new conference competition each year. When your guests know that they will have a different experience every year, they will not want to miss out.
Consider giving attendees options
At a conference, you can be confident that all of your guests have at least one thing in common: the industry. But this doesn’t mean that every guest is looking for the same thing. Think of it this way: every customer in a Greek restaurant is likely to enjoy Greek food, but that doesn’t mean they all want to eat a Gyro.
With this in mind, remember that a set menu won’t satisfy everyone. Let your guests cater to their own specialties and interests within the field by offering options on which sessions they can attend. Running multiple sessions simultaneously may sound more difficult to plan, but offering a customizable experience is sure to make all of your guests happy.
Be open to feedback—and listen!
Don’t miss the opportunity to ask your attendees what they think—and don’t underestimate the power of their opinion. At the end of any conference, make sure to survey attendees, from your guests to your speakers, to see what they enjoyed and what didn’t go so well. Maybe the catering was off, or you didn’t offer enough break time between sessions. Whatever the issue turns out to be, listen to the feedback and do your best to improve next year’s program.
Overall, fresh content, updated options, and making sure problems from last year’s conference were addressed will keep the event experience exciting and new for all of your guests. Previous attendees will want to keep coming back, and could even inspire new guests to attend.
How do you improve your annual events? Tell us in the comments below!