According to numerous studies, the human concentration span is no longer than 20 minutes. This means that no matter how relevant or interesting a presentation is, if you don’t shake things up a little bit, it will be hard to maintain your audience’s attention.
So how can you ensure that your conference is engaging and worthwhile? What can you do to maintain your audience’s attention, keep them engaged, focused and entertained? Results are achieved when your audience leaves an event on a high and with a real buzz factor, and that’s done by leaving a lasting impression, spurring on word-of-mouth, or fuelling motivation.
Here are 7 ways to host engaging and effective corporate conferences, meetings or presentations:
Bring your brand to life
The audiovisual setup at a conference is often used to bring a brand to life. By audiovisual, we mean anything to do with what you can hear and what you can see in the main conference area, breakout areas, and any evening events you have planned: staging, lighting, props, sound, entertainment and the invaluable technical expertise that takes place behind-the-scenes. Properly representing your brand and shaping how your attendees, partners and sponsors remember your event is not only valuable for engaging your audience during a conference, but can evoke a true emotional connection with your brand.
Keep it short but effective
Mix it up a little bit. Break up the more informative sessions with entertaining ones so as to maintain crowd focus. If needs be, obtain support or advice on shaping your agenda before publishing it. During the sessions, try and find ways in which to create a two-way communication flow as this is also key to engagement. Using interactive software for crowd polling to really stimulate the crowd is one example. A few session types that you could adopt to ensure your programme is as engaging as possible are the following: keynote sessions, icebreakers, panel discussions, group workshops, speed networking, and discussion groups or breakout sessions.
Support your speakers to deliver effective presentations
Your speakers can literally make or kill your conference vibe. Speakers should be properly trained in public speaking with a healthy dose of passion and humour injected into their session. Invest some time into rehearsing speeches with your speakers or bring in support to help them both with the delivery as well as their presentation. They should get their point across in little time and in the most effective manner, using an accompanying audiovisual presentation which ticks all the right boxes. Our advice on the visuals? Lots of blank space, large attractive fonts and good imagery.
Choose the right moderator
The moderator is usually an underestimated role in many conferences. They are not only a person who introduces the speaker. A good moderator can make the conference an unforgettable experience by coordinating the speakers, ensuring their presentations flow, facilitating effective discussions, avoiding overlap, helping ensure the conference programme stays on track, and running Q&As.
Throw in an energising ice breaker
Whether your audience are colleagues or complete strangers, a great morning energiser prior to your first session is a great way to break the ice, and allows the crowd to feel engaged from the get-go. Starting the day off on a high can truly set the pace for the rest of the day. Furthermore, strategically-placed energisers in between conference sessions is an injection of adrenaline which helps to clear minds for further concentration in the coming sessions.
Make your audience feel comfortable
The possibilities are endless, so here are some ideas: a) creating effective audiovisuals like background music and ambient lighting, b) briefing welcoming hosts who greet guests on arrival and provide useful information, c) ensuring the venue is running smoothly with air conditioning systems in order and proper ventilation to make up for the heat of the lights on stage, and d) getting original with your networking areas, such as by adding cool furniture to your coffee break area and turning it into an intimate space where people can feel at ease connecting.
Bring in the experts for flawless delivery
An audiovisual run-through prior to the conference is absolutely necessary: a) audio: ensure everyone can hear everything clearly, from anywhere inside the room – select tech equipment carefully depending on the size of your venue and number of guests; b) visuals: ensure presentations are visible from all points in the room; c) lighting: ensure the stage is well-lit, create the appropriate ambience, and change it up with lighting at different times during the day; and d) personnel: bring in the experts who know what they’re doing, make your speakers feel at ease, and this will allow you to have 0 downtime and flawless delivery without a glitch. 100 points!
Give us a shout if a flawless, effective and engaging conference is what you’re after.