I just got thinking, I’ve produced conferences in many locations around the world and there must be something I’ve picked up along the way from each of them. So, after a little brain racking, here is a list of some of my favourite tips and the countries I’ve picked them up from…
1. USA: informal social events in the evenings with your speakers and delegates can create a memorable event, ensuring word of mouth for repeat events. It’ll also mean you’ll have a group of people you will forever be able to phone and say something like ‘hey, we went to the rodeo together’ which is guaranteed to start a conversation with a smile!
2. UK: focused, meaningful group activities can be very rewarding for delegates – especially if the results are captured in a report and distributed to the participants afterwards.
3. Australia: an inspiring setting can improve interaction between delegates and, ultimately, your feedback scores. The event that left me with the most glowing evaluation forms was held in a room with full length windows overlooking Manly Beach… (I’m not saying that content isn’t king by the way, but there’s definitely an easy win to be had with picking the right location!)
4. Trinidad and Tobago: using face-to-face meetings to build tight local networks with businesses, media and government ministers can open doors for your conference and allow you to acquire more top quality speakers and sponsors.
5. Germany: it seems counter-intuitive, but a comfortable seated lunch will be better received by exhibitors than a standing exhibition room lunch. You’ll avoid people feeling like they’re crammed into the exhibition area around crowded cocktail tables, struggling with finger food and those awful click-in glass holders. Seated lunches are a far classier look for your sponsors, affording them more relaxed, professional conversations with their potential customers.
6. Norway: a chairman with a good sense of humour will keep your delegates interested and loyal. The face of your conference should have a personality, not just a great job title.
7. Major international events: integrating a poster tour gives lone delegates a chance to mingle with each other, breaking down that awkward school disco feeling in the refreshments area.
Please feel free to add your own tips below, I’d love to hear them!