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Challenge the Norm – Push Your Delegates a Little Further

Most people are inherently shy however given the opportunity will engage if it is delicately forced upon them. Following are ten ideas to push delegates to engage on another level.

1. Philanthropy

For large events, planners are able to offer a range of philanthropic options they could choose from. The PCO is able to help identify community organisations that need assistance eg. Brisbane’s Mini Farm Project, cooking for Ronald McDonald House

2. Scavenger Hunt

Mixing up of delegates that are like-minded in and around the venue or throughout the city on an hour or two breaks.

3. Forced Networking Cocktails

Ask questions and enable delegates to gravitate to their area they most resonate with.

4. Recipe Card Campaign

An organization that serves the global meetings market launched its recipe card campaign in January last year. It’s based on the idea that food is a global concept enjoyed by everyone, and therefore a recipe can be a great conversation starter. The organization invited six association partners to submit their favourite recipes that incorporate avocado, broccoli, blueberries, or pumpkin—all known as “superfoods.” The recipes are accessible for free on the organisation’s website and hard copies are handed out at trade shows.

5. Dinner with Strangers

Since 2001, the Exhibitor Show has offered “Dinner with Strangers.” The idea developed out of the recognition that many people came to the show alone and were opting to eat dinner in their hotel rooms rather than go out. Organisers make group reservations at about six restaurants for each night of the show. Sign-up sheets in the conference registration area list the restaurant name, type of food, average price, and reservation time. Attendees sign up—and then show up. (Footnote – BizBash)

6. Altering Seating Plans

Change seating plans each day and force change up – then run an obligatory 2-minute ice-breaking introduction session.

7. Public Displays of Performance

Darren Isenberg writes about a National Conference that printed up name badges that not only had the delegate name and location on it but also printed several awesome store metrics such as revenue, sales, profitability etc. It not only led to many discussions between franchisees but also a friendly level of competition that carried on to the next conference.

8. Non-conference Seating Formats

BarCamps and beanbags in order to not draw lines between the presenters and the speakers

9. Break Ideas that Require Interaction

Conference break time can be awkward for delegates if they are shy and don’t know anyone. Ping pong competitions, a basketball hoop can help to create movement as well. Try to avoid boring networking spaces on the conference floor.

10. Interactivity

Keep on asking questions, voting, award prizes for best questions, most interactive. The perfect example of challenging the norm was Xeroconn’s conference in Brisbane last year.

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