Nine Simple Ideas to Make Your Conference More Memorable
While planning an industry conference on machine learning, we brainstormed this down and dirty list of ideas to make the event more memorable. You can definitely adapt these ideas to all sorts of conferences, meetings, and special events.
1. Stage Scenic Design
People are going to be staring at your stage for a long time so make it interesting. Use stock or custom scenic elements to polish the look of the event, visible behind presenters in addition to projection screen.
Use a plexiglass podium plus contemporary lounge furniture for panel or interview presentations to boost the onstage look and feel.
2. Improve Your Brand With Signage
Boost event signage from foam core on easels to vertical, floor-supported banners or vinyl wall art, with improved space for branding.
Brand the conference name, mainstage, and breakout track names throughout.
3. Live Music!
Put a priority on live music or a DJ at your cocktail reception. It will take an average affair and make it a memorable one.
Play music during breakfast, mainstage arrivals, lunch, and breaks. It will give your day a huge boost in energy.
Hire a DJ to play live bumper music between speakers and during breaks.
4. Morning Live Entertainment
Kick off the day with a produced, flashmob-feel, three-minute dance and music performance before your keynote. Done well, it will be the talk of the town!
5. Boost Food at Meals, Breaks and Receptions
Granola and healthful smoothies at breakfast.
Beer and warm pretzels at afternoon break.
Cookies or other snacks branded with the event logo at lunch.
Box lunch labels with sponsor logo.
Move beyond box lunches to buffet salad and food-truck inspired bites like Banh Mi, empanadas, or pulled pork tacos. Or have all of your reception catering at buffet stations to keep the crowd moving from station to station.
6. Boost Post-Conference Video AND Editorial Content
Mix up your final product to gain more viewers. Split each video up into full-length sessions and several 30-, 60-, and 90-second snippets.
To make the most of your videos, create–and stick to–an editorial schedule to blog about each one. Unsure how to do this or short on the internal bandwidth to manage this sort of content? Talk to our good friends at Conference Publishers Inc. They are truly the experts at leveraging content from conferences into year-round social media content.
Partner with media or industry sites to share broadly with their audiences.
7. Pre-Event Regional Reception
Invite sponsors, speakers, VIPs and their clients to a cocktail party several weeks before the event to generate interest with them, and in turn, they will be buzzing about your upcoming event.
8. Improved Conference Bag
We all have enough of the cheap totes for the grocery store. Raise the bar with a Timbuk2, Rickshaw Bagworks, or other locally sourced and sophisticated bag.
Brand with conference name and/or top sponsor.
9. Memorable Gift Items for Every Participant and gifts to hand out throughout the event, including:
Track-specific gifts for participants in first session of each track
Coffee or travel mugs at breakfast and coffee break
Lunchtime gifts at placesettings; have two or more different items and place a variety on the table for instant conversation starters
Raffle or random-winner gifts based on drawing or “golden ticket” at morning keynote
Make the gifts memorable, relevant, and optional. Keep a light environmental footprint by refraining from thrusting branded materials on people who don't need or want them; some of us have truly had enough stress toys, tote bags, and branded pens to last the rest of our lives.
Some of these ideas deserve a blog post to themselves, and some are simple and easily implemented. What have you seen that was truly new, different, and engaging at the last event you attended?
Paige Buck is the co-owner of Kennedy Events is a large-scale event management company based in San Francisco, Los Angeles, and New York City. Our team creates stress-free conferences and events with a positive impact, which allow our clients to resonate with their audience. Kennedy Events specializes in producing flawless product launches, award ceremonies, fundraisers and multi-day conferences while keeping our eye on retention and engagement goals.
About Kennedy Events
Kennedy Events began in 2000 with one goal in mind—to produce corporate events with just as much strategy as style. Since then, Paige, Maggie, and their team have built one of the most sought after corporate event companies in San Francisco, New York, and Los Angeles.
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