A successful conference is a two-way affair, where both the speakers and the attendees play a role. This makes the event more memorable and enjoyable, and also facilitates the learning process. When the audience is encouraged to take an active part in the proceedings, they are more likely to take away a useful experience.
Here are some top suggestions for making your conference more interactive.
Start with an icebreaker
The best strategy is to start off as you mean to go on, and establish a connection with the audience from the first moments. This helps everyone to feel more comfortable and welcome, and so they will become more receptive to the proceedings.
For larger groups, a simple idea can be to ask participants to introduce themselves to the nearest person they don’t know, and include one fun fact about themselves. This could be related to their career, interests, or just an unusual fact such as a distinguished ancestor.
For a relaxed and fun icebreaker, a great idea is to set a creative challenge. Divide the audience into smaller groups, and ask them to come up with a logo, slogan, or even corporate identity for a business or workplace of their choice. To finish, ask the participants to feedback their ideas to the rest of the audience.
Round off a session with a quiz
Quizzes are a great way to recap the main points covered in a session, as well as to encourage the audience to listen carefully! They can be integrated into an app so that the attendees can work their way through it independently and achieve an individual score, or you could deliver the quiz as a general audience participation event.
Organise a panel discussion
A panel of experts discussing a topic relevant to the theme of the conference can be an excellent way to present information in a lively and well rounded way. The audience will benefit from a range of opinions and experiences, and can be encouraged to make their own contributions.
This can be a more engaging and memorable format than a traditional lecture, and can help to enhance the overall learning experience. An audience that feels genuinely included in the proceedings is far more likely to describe the conference as worthwhile and interesting.
A special guest speaker who is a particularly gifted communicator can generate advance interest in your event, and help to make that extra impact on the audience.
Schedule in networking time
Conferences are not only learning experiences, but they are also opportunities for people to work in similar sectors to mingle, make new connections and exchange ideas. Therefore it is important to ensure that the venue has adequate breakout areas where refreshments can be served and guests have enough time and space to circulate.
Encouraging participants to wear name tags with their company and job title can help to make introductions easier. Some conference organisers choose to appoint a host who can help to facilitate useful introductions.
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