• Selina Arnall

Keeping Your Event Game Fresh!

Whether you're flying solo and organising the first conference of your events career, or you have been tasked by the 'powers that be' to create something a little different for this year's annual corporate event, creating a conference with a multitude of possible themes can be an arduous task.

One of the hardest tasks when organising an internal event that is repeated is how to keep it fresh, on point and relevant, how do you spark a genuine desire to attend the yearly financial results event, sales conference, training day and so on when some of the attendees may have been coming for years - What can you do as the event planner to make this the event a must-attend and not another yawn fest?

I organise internal B2B conferences regularly and often advise junior planners, or those with no substantial planning experience of the top 5 tips for creating a perfect small conference and if you mix these with some of the top themes for 2020 you are sure to pull off an exceptional event for your team. And it starts with, the venue!!

1- The venue is critical and if you want to do something different in 2020, look for a space that is unique in its offering, when you are doing your site inspections does the space excite you? will it excite your attendees, how is it different from the spaces this event has been held in before? Are there unusual details that will engage and inspire attendees? is there plenty of natural light, state of the art AV, and a food & beverage offering that exceeds beyond a round of sandwiches? Breakout spaces where business calls can be taken, or a business centre?

2 - Food and beverage the way to every attendee's heart, make sure the venue caters to dietary requirements (and make sure you pass these on to your venue coordinator) familiarise yourself with what they can & can't do when managing delegate expectations. Does the venue offer #organic, #localproduce options? Attendees are happier when presented with options such as salad bars, low fat & carb choices, options that are easy to handle and consume whilst enjoying the company of others or catching up on those important texts/calls/emails/Instagram. The best one a finger food styled breakfast on arrival, goes down a treat especially for those who had an early start.

3 - Does the venue offer accommodation? On-site dining options, is there parking? what do they have that you can offer your attendees to create a value-add experience for them? Is there an option to do #postconference drinks at the venue, an hour of power networking, or just to wind down after a long day? if not are these facilities located nearby? Is the venue close to public transport for those who are commuting?

4 - Provide your attendees with ALL the information they need, and then some!! Once your delegates have registered their attendance make sure they have the imperative event details to hand, and to save yourself time, later on, give a little extra, where to park, where to stay, airport and public transport links, where to go on arrival and the event contact name & number. Be clear and concise, leave no room for misinterpretation...

5 - Lengthy presentations with bums in seats for exceeded periods of time have been out for a long time! you will acquire greater participant engagement from shorter presentations that include mind activities, body movement, and creating an environment that delivers the opportunity for authentic connections between guests. Make on-screen presentation easy to view and creative.

Once you have picked the venue, your delegates have confirmed their attendance, the bosses have provided you with their PowerPoint presentations, it's time to get creative, here are a couple of themes from #spicemagazine to offer inspiration in your 2020 events

Lots of Laughs; Why not turn your corporate event into a comedy night? Set up an area within your conference space with a stage and microphone stand and weave your event content in between a series of #comedy acts, some red bucket chairs and side tables will complete the look, while table service will add to the comedy night feel.

Wake up to Wellness; Set to be a big focus in 2020 events, wellness is a great theme for conferences or a breakfast meeting. Kick off the morning with a short #yoga session, before getting into the event proceedings. Hold the sugary treats and serve up fresh juices and healthy breakfast dishes instead.

An Attack of Art; Go big and go bright for your next conference with an art-themed event. Choose a full-color approach and splash the spaces with bursts of red, blue and yellow, and set up #art activations around the venue for your guests to get creative during the breaks, or as part of the presentation delivery. It's certainly a way to invigorate any boring spaces.

This definitely will not be the last time I touch on #conferences, I hope this helps with any small repeat events you have coming up in the near future, till next time everyone

Selina x

Photography Courtesy of Inlighten Photography