Planning a conference is always hard work, because you’ve got so many things to consider. Without the right support, it can be like trying to spin plates without dropping any of them. One of the things that often gets lost in conference planning is how to keep people engaged. Whether the conference is for a half day or a week, you still need different ways to hold your attendees’ interest.
Here are 25 conference activities to keep your audience engaged.
Breakout sessions: Provide opportunities for people to break into groups for networking or specific discussion sessions. These can be less formal.
Trade displays: A great way to encourage conference sponsorship and attract more participants. Trade displays also create great networking opportunities.
Food and drink: Everybody loves some food and drink included, so make sure everybody is well-fed at regular intervals. Also consider larger breakfast, lunch and dinner options.
Informal networking opportunities: Take a break from the formalities and give people time to mingle in between sessions.
Brainstorming sessions: Allow people to break into groups to come up with ideas to solve common problems in your industry.
The Solutions Room: This can be done in person or virtually, and involves experts being on hand so that attendees can get advice on problems they currently face in business.
Lucky door prizes: With plenty of different sessions and events, there’s a great chance to run lucky door prizes throughout the conference.
Keynote speakers: Attendees are often more engaged when there is a respected keynote speaker in attendance.
Feedback sessions: Towards the end of the conference, allow time for people to provide feedback. This can also be done during the conference if it goes for multiple days.
Encourage social media sharing: Create a hashtag for your event and encourage attendees to share photos, videos and more on social media.
Entertainment: For longer conferences, a dinner with some entertainment such as a band can help to release some tension after a long day of the serious stuff.
Health and wellness activities: Consider ideas such as a health and wellness station, or even planned gym workouts nearby if you have out-of-town guests who need their daily exercise.
Reception events: Kick off your event in style with an informal event at the end of the first day. A cocktail party, informal food and drinks or even dinner are all great options.
A silent auction: Encourage businesses to donate prizes for a silent auction that can be held throughout the event.
Retail opportunities: A great way to encourage event sponsorship is allowing sponsors to set up stalls or pop-up shops within the conference.
Seat swaps: During conference sessions or meals, encourage people to swap seats regularly to network with different people.
Use short speaking sessions: Also known as ‘lightning talks’, these presentations have a time limit, keeping people more engaged.
Hold a talent show: Just because it’s a business conference, that doesn’t mean attendees might have some special skills they’re keen to showcase either during designated breaks or as part of a conference dinner.
Solve a mystery: Try to incorporate a mystery that needs to be solved at the end of the conference. Clues can be given at various points during the event.
Silent talks: Participants can use headphones to listen to many different speakers at once, depending on their area of interest.
Incorporate a theme: Try to weave a theme through your conference to make things a little more interesting. It might be based on a certain global location, for example.
Create a mobile app: For larger conferences, a mobile app is a great idea, incorporating session plans, ways to share experiences directly on social media, and other useful resources.
Vote with our body: A fun exercise during sessions. Ask a question, and have people move to a certain part of the room to vote for their answer or opinion.
Product demonstrations: Sponsors and businesses involved in the conference love the opportunity to showcase products.
Speed networking: Much like speed dating, except participants move around the room at scheduled intervals to meet other attendees and discuss what they do.
Urban Hub provides the ultimate conference experience with our highly customisable conference venues in Wellington. With a range of rooms available for different conference sizes, as well as full catering, a beautiful outdoor terrace and a licensed café and bar on site, everything you need is in one easily accessible place in Wellington’s CBD. Contact us today to find out more.