Have you ever attended a conference or trade show that was the same year after year? These events are in the same location, presenting the same content, with the same design - boring. If you agree with me and don't want your event to turn into one of repetition, then read on!
What event professionals are looking for today is innovation. People want an event that is going to surprise them. Event organizers need to start looking into trends to see what their audience wants. Maybe it is a new presentation style, adaption of new technology or finding a way to be socially conscious at events. Whatever your audience is talking about, make sure that you are listening to them. Find ways to adapt your conference to fit what they are looking for.
If you are looking to switch up your conference, this is the way to do it! Many conferences are starting to take this model on and it seems to be well received by the event professional world. What an unconference does is create a space for peer-to-peer learning, creativity and collaboration. The great thing about it is that every session idea is brought up by the attendees and any idea is welcomed. Attendees with similar topics are given the opportunity to merge sessions for even bigger discussions.
Think of using this style for your next conference if you want to give your attendees more power. People tend to like this conference style because not only are they getting the chance to learn real-life experiences from their peers, but they are networking at the same time. No need to hold separate networking events.
New Presentation Styles
Do we all agree that PowerPoint presentations are getting old? I mean with the amount of information that some presenters put on it now it is like you have to make the choice to either listen to them or read what is on the slide. That is why platforms that focus more on the images rather than the text are making a huge wave in the events world.
One of the most recent additions to event presentations is Pecha Kucha. Pecha Kucha is a presentation format where you show 20 images for 20 seconds each. The platform automatically advances the images for you, so that you can focus on what you are saying to the audience. They give presenters the opportunity to have a more tailored message and get rid of the extra fluff that takes up most of people’s hour presentations.
Haiku Deck is another great presentation platform that again focuses on the images. Their mission is to keep presentations simple with limited text, focusing each slide on one idea and using their high res images to tell a story. Haiku Deck is a mix between a slide share presentation and Instagram with different themes and filters.
Implement one of these presentation platforms into your event by encouraging speakers to use the platforms. Show them why they are great tools and make a better presentation style than PowerPoint. If they are still wary of a new presentation platform, see if you can give them the right tips to make their presentations stand out. For example, if you have an innovation zone at your trade show with short 20 minute sessions, make it encourage presenters to use Haiku Deck. Let your attendees know that they will be seeing amazing images on the screen not a PowerPoint presentation flooded with text.
If you have a conference or event where you are looking to hold breakout sessions that involve the audience, then you need to be able to give the audience a way to raise their voice to be heard throughout the session room. Normally you would just have a staff member walking around with a microphone for the audience members that want to speak, but why not change it up with some new technology?
Catchbox was used recently at the FRESH Conference and it was a huge hit. Everyone was talking about the cube shaped, plush microphone that could be thrown around the room like a beach ball. You can use it for lectures, workshops, meetings or even skype calls! Not only is it fun, but you can also add your own branding on it.
Crowdmics is even newer to the event world. They give the audience a change to turn their smart phones into a microphone. Event organizers purchase Crowdmics, set up an event in the app and then attendees log in to speak during the presentation. No need to purchase extra devices, the attendees bring them for you!
Today's generations care about sustainability, giving back and overall leaving a better world behind for others. That is why events should think about what their attendees care about and are interested in. Think about trying to make your events more green or finding ways to recycle old material once your event is over.
If you are looking into the charity aspect, find an area of your event where you can partner up with a charity to allow your attendees to give back. This isn't just for event organizers either, exhibitors take note! This month etouches is attending the Americas Incentive Business Travel & Meetings Exhibition (AIBTM) and decided to find a way to have attendees give back at our booth. AIBTM is hosting a selfie challenge to allow attendees to meet more exhibitors by asking them to take selfies at all the exhibitor booths. We decided to take it a step further, every person who takes a selfie on our booth and uploads to Twitter or Instagram with the #selfiesgopink, etouches will donate three dollars to the Breast Cancer Research Foundation. It is a fun way for people to give back!
Try implementing some of these innovative ideas at your next event to keep your attendees on their toes and excited to come back next year!