Captivating Your Audience At A Conference: A Guide for Event Planners
by Abby Ingraham on Nov 9, 2023 3:23:36 PM
Conferences are exciting events that bring together professionals, thought leaders, and experts from various parts of an industry. As a conference planner, you have a challenging goal. It is not only to organize a seamless event but also to ensure that the audience is captivated, engaged, and most importantly, inspired to incorporate the new-found knowledge from the conference into their day-to-day. After all, a conference is only as successful as the impact it has on its attendees. In this blog post, we'll explore some key strategies and tips for captivating your audience at a conference.
Table of Contents:
- Know Your Audience.
- Provide Exceptional Speakers.
- Prepare Your Speakers.
- Interactive Sessions.
- Utilize Conference Management Technology.
- Post-Event Engagement.
- Get Feedback.
Know Your Audience
Before planning a conference, you must have a deep understanding of your target audience(s). Consider their interests, needs, and expectations. Are they looking for networking opportunities, cutting-edge information, continuing education, inspirational speakers, or all of the above? By tailoring your event to their preferences, you can increase the chances of captivating them from the very beginning. View the free downloadable buyer persona template and example below for a head start.
Provide Exceptional Speakers
When creating a captivating conference, the presentation skills of your selected speakers are critical to a session’s success. The right speaker can set the tone for the entire event, making it an experience that attendees will remember. It is important to not only notify your audience that you are accepting speakers for your conference, but it is also important to reach out to thought leaders that you believe will be an excellent fit for a session.
One effective way to gain insight into individuals you should reach out to is by actively engaging with your industry on social media and attending relevant events, both online and in person. It's always worth keeping an open mind, as you never know when you might find someone perfect for a session. By Investing in compelling and engaging speakers who can share valuable insights and tell compelling stories, you will leave a lasting impact on your audience.
Prepare Your Speakers
It is important to prepare your speakers and presenters well before the event. A prepared session leader creates a better overall experience for your entire audience. Arm your speakers with the following information:
- Why were they selected for a session? Was this due to their specific content, or for their presentation style?
- Provide them with information on the audience they are presenting to. This will help a presenter to home in their topic.
- Provide ways to promote their session. This can be an image they can share with their audience on social media, the event hashtag, etc. Be sure to also notify them of any active accounts to tag and your specific event webpage. Offering a pre-show webinar is also a great way to market the conference, while also increasing the familiarity of your audience with the session leader.
- Give them a list of tips and tricks for speaking to an audience. This can include insights such as, “What do you do when you don’t know the answer to a question?”.
One of the most effective ways to make a conference session more engaging and interactive is to break away from the traditional lecture or presentation format. Instead of simply delivering information, consider incorporating workshops, panel discussions, and Q&A sessions that encourage attendees to actively participate and engage with the content. These interactions can help spark discussions and make the event more captivating, as well as provide new networking opportunities. Additionally, you can use engaging visuals and videos to support the content and make it easier to understand. Another way to make a conference session interactive is to use audience response systems or live polling, which can give attendees a voice and allow them to provide feedback in real time.
Utilize Conference Planning Technology
Planning an event can be time-consuming and stressful. However, utilizing a conference management system can help put time back in your hands, allowing you to focus on other important aspects of the event. This system provides a centralized hub for data collection and communication, speaker submissions and selection, streamlined scheduling, personalized branding options, and real-time reports. You can learn more about conferencing, as well as Map Your Show's unparalleled conference management technology solution from the following sources:
- MYS Conference Management Technology Homepage.
- Common Challenges of Conference Management: Creating a Successful Conference.
- Article: MYS Conference Management Technology.
- Enhancing Trade Shows: Why Trade Show Education Should Take Center Stage.
As a conference manager, your goal is to captivate your audience and create a memorable experience. However, it's equally important to keep the conversation going even after the event is over. To achieve this, you need to create post-event engagement strategies that will keep your attendees engaged and interested in your brand or business. One effective way to do this is by sending follow-up emails that thank them for attending and provide them with additional information, resources, or content that they may find relevant. Conducting surveys is another way to gather feedback and understand what worked and what didn't. Finally, hosting social media discussions is a great way to create a sense of community and encourage your audience to share their thoughts, ideas, and experiences. By implementing these post-event engagement strategies, you can create a strong bond with your audience, enhance your brand's reputation, and drive business growth.
Gathering feedback from attendees after the event is an essential step towards enhancing future conferences and ensuring that you consistently captivate your audience. This valuable information will provide valuable insights and help you make necessary improvements to create even more engaging and impactful events in the future. By actively seeking feedback from attendees, you can gain a deeper understanding of their needs and expectations, allowing you to tailor your conferences to better meet their preferences. This will not only increase the chances of captivating your audience from the beginning but also create a strong bond with them, enhancing your brand's reputation and driving business growth. So don't overlook the importance of feedback - it's the key to creating successful and memorable conferences that leave a lasting impact on your audience.
Captivating your audience at a conference is a multifaceted task that requires careful planning, a deep understanding of your audience, and a commitment to delivering value. By implementing these strategies, you can create a conference that not only impresses attendees but also leaves a lasting impact, ensuring they return for future events and share their positive experiences with others. After all, a captivated audience is not only the mark of a successful conference but also the catalyst for future success.