Love them, hate them or sit on the fence, conferences are just another part of corporate life. Unfortunately, they can often be a little uninspiring. Even at ultra-upbeat companies like Google and Apple, we’re pretty sure that attendees indulge in their fair share of pen chewing, finger tapping and yawing.
We get that at the end of the day, conferences exist to address certain issues. But at the same time, that doesn’t mean they have to be mind-numbingly dull. On the contrary, we’re avid believers that with a little forethought, conferences can be engaging, inspiring and unforgettable. So how can you throw a conference that falls into the latter category? Here’s some of our favourite ways to shake up your conferences this summer, and make sure your event’s a hands down hit.
- Host a BBQ lunch
Often, the saving grace of a conference is the thought of lunch. As attendees listen diligently to presentations, daydreaming about a delicious lunch spread is a keynote part of finding the motivation to stay focussed. Come on, we’ve all done it! This means that the absolute fastest way to kill momentum is to serve up lacklustre fare. As far as we’re concerned, the budget always allows for a high quality meal. Rather than opt for the same old humdrum sandwiches, why not make the most of the warm summer weather and throw an outdoor BBQ? The smell of sizzling meat and onions alone will perk attendees up, while the casual atmosphere is a great way to get people chatting.
- Win over attendees with novelty food
Food never fails to excite, so why not try winning over your conference attendees with edible treats? Shun biscuits and pre-baked goods in favour of imaginative offerings that are novel and unique. We love the idea of hiring a temporary popcorn cart, but other quirky ideas such as a candy floss machine, pizza oven or artisan coffee station could also work. Get creative, and see what you can come up with!
- Juice it up
Keep attendees feeling fresh by serving up healthy, organic juices that they can guzzle down during breaks. Fruits and vegetables have amazing properties, so create unique blends designed to heighten employee performance. For example, coconut water is great for hydration, antioxidant rich blueberries are known for their stress fighting credentials, greens such as cucumber, kale and spinach are tried and tested energy boosters, ginger is an instant revitaliser, apples will quash sugar cravings and beetroot will boost the immune system. The list goes on! Plus, did you know that research has shown that dehydration has a negative effect on both mood and cognitive function? This means it’s essential to keep attendees well-watered.
- Throw in a team building event
Break the ice by kicking off your conference with an upbeat team building event. The scope of the activity is entirely up to you. If you’re stuck for space, organise something that can be ‘played’ in the conference room. If you have the luxury of a rooftop garden or nearby park, whisk attendees away for half an hour of team building fun.
- Create a pre-conference social network
Whether you use universally popular platforms such as Facebook or a purpose built workplace collaboration service such as Slack, connecting your attendees through a pre-conference social networking group is a great way to spark engagement. It’ll give people a chance to chat, think, collaborate and more.
- Give out goody bags
Make sure your attendees leave on a high note by issuing them with goodie bags on their way out. Not just for fashion shows and product launches, goodie bags are a fantastic way to ensure that your conference is remembered for all the right reasons. Stuff them with whatever you like, from branded stationary and functional office tools to luxury sweets, gourmet snacks and gift vouchers. Remember, offering recipients value is the name of the game, so don’t simply fill bags with anything you can find. Give your goody bags purpose, and your attendees will be delighted.
- Find the right balance
Ultimately, every conference is different and a ‘one size fits all’ approach won’t work for everyone. The key is to think about what you want attendees to get out of your conference, how much creativity your budget allows for, and whether or not an idea is going to be functional, as well as fun. With these factors in mind, you’ll be able to put together unique conferences that leave a lasting impression.
Looking for fresh new ways to inspire your conference attendees this summer? At Magnum Events, our sole purpose is to help you put together memorable events that make an impact. Whether you’re hosting a conference of five or fifty, we’ve got the expertise, motivation and in-house creativity to transform your corporate do into an experience worth talking about. Contact us today to find out how we can help!