Chris Elmitt is a specialist facilitator of conferences within the events industry. His company Crystal Interactive is dedicated to helping meeting owners connect with their audiences in live and virtual settings.
Read some key insights and top tips from Chris, collected from the Business Tourism Scotland Conference 2013.
Design your Agenda
Encouraging delegate engagement at events is critical to participation and the success of your event. When planning an event, create conference scenarios and design an agenda to fit with the event to help clients recognise the challenges they face, and give them confidence to face these in the future.
Workshop Activities –Content and Personas
Consider types of workshop activities which could work for a range of types of attendee personas, such as:
- Case studies – on solving problems
- An Innovation workshop
- Get some customer input, bring them in for perspective
- Encourage young people (for example, 15/16 year-olds) to share their perspective
Top Tip: Remember that it’s almost impossible to design an agenda which will appeal to everyone but it’s important to have enough of a mix of activities which will engage the key attendee personas.
What does your Audience Want?
- Conduct end of session feedback if you can to be able to learn from the feedback and tailor future events. End of session feedback from previous events revealed valuable suggestions:
- Provide real case studies to bring your ideas to life
- Cut out the weak content –provide more depth and less breadth
- Don’t tell the delegate the answer – let the client give you the answer – let the audience work with you and provide their knowledge and expertise
- Give delegates time and space outside of the conference hall so that they can get on and process the information they’re accessing, in coffee time, groups or other spaces.
- Give delegates the opportunity to say what they liked, not just what they didn’t like.
Designing Event Agendas for Clients: Top Tips
- Ensure you’ve got enough of a mix of activities – you can’t please everyone but need to address your key groups
- Events must be varied in order to have enough for different demographic groups all of the time
- Live events - the power of experiences - provide a safe place for people to work together. This can be helpful, so sometimes a little bit of risk can be a positive thing.
- An event provides a unique way of bringing people together to achieve a sharing of perspectives that perhaps doesn’t work with email or social media such as Twitter, for example.