Often when clients sit down with the forum company to discuss their upcoming conference requirements, one of the most frequently asked questions are: "How do we improve delegate productivity at our event"?
It's 2018 and much about conferencing and delegates has changed! But have you as an event organiser?
Need some inspiration? Check out these tips to improve delegate productivity at your next conference or event
1. really plan your conference
and share the agenda with delegates beforehand, so that everyone arrives with an understanding of what precisely needs to be accomplished. Remember that clear objectives encourage greater efficiency.
2. Be sure to Start on Time
As attendees filter in through the door, chatting and catching up, taking their time before sitting down and taking out a notepad, precious minutes may slip by. This is a waste of productive time!
Most people don't actually know when their most productive hours are but consider what time of day your delegates are most productive. Some people are most productive in the morning, some in the afternoon and some in the evening and at night. Think about asking delegates when they are at their most effective as it's important to take advantage of these productive hours. If possible, try to schedule your programme around the most productive times, even if that means working from 7am - 3pm rather than 9am - 5pm, to avoid the afternoon slump. Ask your hosts to create a brain-boosting snack station where delegates can refuel and keep their energy levels up.
3. Engagement vs Attendance
Interesting to note is the change in traditional expectations of the delegates themselves. These days it is an issue of engagement versus attendance and delegates now demand superior levels of interaction before, during and after the event. Consider providing all stakeholders remote access to resources like online information, as this enhances the end-user experience and encourages higher levels of engagement which is driven by content and information pathways. Great presentation methods and brilliant information can be a powerful combination. Place the focus on quality content presented in a highly engaging way. To put this another way, inspiring content can grab attention and evoke an emotional response which in turn encourages better absorption and retention.
4. Avoid smartphone notifications
While completely shutting down smartphones isn't always practical, managing notifications is. Make an effort to avoid smartphone notifications. The average smartphone user checks his or her device 221 times a day! Encourage resonance by discouraging multi-tasking and distractions. The human brain is not designed to multi-task and when people are "multi-tasking", they're actually task-switching. Frequent message alerts are almost guaranteed to pull attention away. By checking emails and messages delegates are disengaged and it's very difficult to get them to refocus on your content.
5. Setting goals and incentives
for everyone in attendance is an excellent way of encouraging and maintaining productivity levels. Creating a challenge or goal is a great tool for doing this and gets everyone working towards a target - which can result in rewards or prizes. Our creative teams can brainstorm brilliant ideas which will create a WOW factor.
6. Build in enough breaks
Keep in mind that studies show the human brain can only focus for 90 to 120 minutes at a time before it needs a break. Build in enough breaks so that delegates are re-energised and comfortable. Consider changing the scenery and design an outdoor session. Research shows that a 30-minute lunchtime walk can help people cope with stress and boosts enthusiasm for the remainder of the afternoon. Think about doing a networking walkabout around the grounds of The Campus, which will give delegates an opportunity to get to know each other and re-energise themselves. One study found that simply looking at a computerised image of nature helped increase focus so even including a short video clip of the great outdoors has the potential to grab attention.
What will you be doing at your next conference or event to increase delegate productivity?