3 Interactive Conference Ideas to Try

April 22, 2016 - By: Sarah Hovis

 Congratulations—you’re hosting a conference! Your speakers are confirmed, your social game is on point, and your event is on its way to being sold out. Now you can focus on how to design an experience that that will give you attendees the most opportunities to interact with each other. Here are
three ways how:
Hire a Professional Moderator Help your conference really stand out by hiring a professional moderator. A top-notch moderator will be able to skillfully get your attendees to their final destination, while entertaining them along the way.
Transform Presentation Formats Since speakers are the backbone of your event, they should know how to make their presentations captivating. Here are a couple of ways you can make that happen: • Start by asking how much time they need for their topic. If it’s only 20 minutes, don’t force them to stretch it to 45 minutes because you need to fill the time. Instead, use the
extra time for in-depth Q&A. • Conduct onstage interviews with your speakers like the
SaaStr Annual Conference did instead of having them present slide after slide.
Offer Collaborative Session Formats A study conducted by
the Brandon Hall Group discovered 85 percent of companies are currently experimenting with social learning techniques where people can actively participate and learn from one another via observation and imitation. Check out these two examples for inspiration: • 30-minute interactive campfire sessions set in a laidback environment where the facilitator introduces a topic and then assists discussion, trying to reveal common issues and solutions. Used at
EMEC 2015. • Divide your audience into tables of five to eight. Give each group a different topic to discuss for roughly 10 minutes. When the time is up, they move to another table with a new topic and new participants. Used at FRESH 2014. Tell us in the comments how you think conferences can be made more interactive.