Over the next three blogs I want to talk a bit about how you can make your conference or event ‘a bit different’. We are asked all the time for something a bit different, and just how different we make it, depends a lot on how brave the client is. But as conference and event planners everywhere are gearing up for their spring and autumn conferences, I thought I’d look at some of the ways you can make it a bit more interesting…

Conference plannersUNCONFERENCE
First of all, let’s have a look at the ‘unconference’. It’s a clumsy word, in my opinion, but I guess it represents what it is. The unconference is about picking apart the traditional conference structure and making the event a lot more free-flowing. Instead of everyone following a pre-arranged format, the conference itself is structured and led by the delegates. Instead of passive listening, everyone is encouraged to get involved in what happens, with the guiding hand of moderators to prevent total anarchy breaking out.

What ultimately often happens is that groups might break off to meet and discuss something that is important to them. There may be multiple rooms with live visual hook-ups. Small groups may choose to huddle separately. But the overall idea is that instead of sitting in a room all together, you can choose who to engage with, and how. A loose agenda, and some specific outcomes is vital, in my opinion, to stop it becoming a chit-chat coffee morning. But as we generally become less formally structured in our working lives, with many of us working remotely via clouds, from laptops in coffee shops and in relaxed office environments, the unconference can be a refreshing break from tradition.

Actually, I really like the unconference, although it’s not for everyone. It relies to a fair degree on delegate engagement and integration, and a LOT on having good Wi-Fi and tech! But its format can be really diverse and freeing. It makes for a buzzing environment and I suspect a lot more effective work and communication takes place, if it’s managed well.

Next time, immersive events…

Unconference – time for a change?
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