“It’s easy to get lost in planning an event and forget about your audience entirely.“
How To Plan a Great Business Conference
Company conferences are a fantastic opportunity for networking, creative thinking, thought leadership and morale boost for employees, but organising one can be daunting.
With so many different factors to consider, often including tight budgets, it can be a challenge to know which elements to prioritise to make it a success for your audience.
Here are the top five things that you should consider if you’d like to plan a great business conference:
Who is your audience, and how can you engage them?
This question may seem obvious at first, but it’s easy to get lost in planning an event and forget about your audience entirely.
Before you plan anything, think about the makeup of your audience: how many people are you expecting to host? Are they all from the same parts of the company or industry? Will there be a mixture of junior and senior employees? What do they want?
When you’ve answered these questions, make sure that what you are planning is going to engage the whole audience, making sure your content is relevant and that people can see the benefit of different aspects of the agenda.
Engaging audiences, particularly large ones, can be difficult, especially if you have dry company updates to deliver. Think about bringing in aspects of storytelling to your presentations to help motivate your audience and keep them engaged in your message.
If you really want to engage your audience, think about the impact your slide deck will have. Lots of bullet points and text puts people to sleep, even with the most exciting of data! Cut back on the text and use compelling visuals instead. If you’re feeling really brave, ditch the slides altogether!
Engage a high-quality motivational speaker
Having a motivational speaker present at your business event can be a transformative experience for your employees. In fact, having high-quality presenters is perhaps the best investment you can make when planning a conference.
That’s according to a recent survey, in which employees from a range of different sectors were asked about what elements of a company conference were most important to them. The majority of respondents said that having a dynamic presenter was the most important aspect of attending a conference.
So why is choosing a good speaker so important?
The right motivational speaker can help energise and inspire your audience to make positive change by identifying the things holding them back and giving people tools and ideas to help them move forward.
They will also be able to work with you to ensure that their presentation aligns with the themes and goals of your conference, making it more relevant and, ultimately, inspiring for the audience.
Build in opportunities for networking
According to our research, the second most important aspect of a company conference for employees is having real networking opportunities.
Whilst a lot of networking will take place during breaks, you can also include short activities or icebreakers that encourage conversation and help shyer delegates engage with others.
You may also wish to consider breakout coaching sessions in small groups. In our survey, a fifth of all participants said that this type of coaching was the most important aspect of a conference. Giving people that opportunity will be a valuable experience and contribute to a successful event.
Pick the right venue
Choosing the right venue is important – but make sure you consider function over style.
Our study has shown that delegates aren’t especially interested in the flashiness or look of the stage, lighting and sound – only 13% of respondents felt that the sound, stage and lighting were important factors.
However, having a venue that works well for your audience, with comfortable seats, a seating plan that encourages networking, breakout spaces (if you’re planning to use them) and areas to mingle and socialise will mean that your delegates can get the most out of the time there.
Think, ‘what next’?
Company conferences have the potential to be inspiring and motivating, but without clear action points, it’s difficult for delegates to know what to do next.
Make sure you end your conference or presentations with clear and simple actions for people to follow when they return to work. What do you want them to do differently? How can they make change happen and continue the inspiration from the conference?
A company conference can also be a great springboard for further training opportunities throughout the year – and this has never been more important. Almost two-thirds of employees say they will be more likely to stay with a company that offers them more training opportunities, so if you want to retain your best people, get a training plan that meets their needs!
Are you looking for a great speaker?
We have more than 20 years of experience when it comes to delivering lively, interactive and captivating keynote presentations.
Best-selling author, podcast host and CEO of Body Talk Richard Newman is an expert conference speaker on peak performance mindset and personal influence, empowering audiences with practical communication and storytelling tips that build influence.
Richard’s electric personality and passion for communication make him a hugely popular keynote speaker.
If you would like to speak to us about booking Richard or another member of our highly-experienced team to present at your conference, get in touch with us today.
You can also watch Richard in action in the video below.