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Is the traditional conference dead?

Is the traditional conference dead?
11/06/2018

Modern event planners organise all kinds of events. And, one of the most trusted in our armoury is the conference. Used to impart information and help attendees learn new skills, historically the conference format has followed the same arrangement; with delegates seated in an auditorium, speakers presenting hour-long keynotes (sometimes with a Q&A at the end), and a few networking breaks to shake things up. But, in an age of low-attention spans, is this event format still a good idea? Or, is it time we all admit that this most traditional form of events is now dead?

RIP event conference format? At Apex, we’d argue that, reports of the death of the conference are greatly exaggerated. In fact, not only is there is still a time and a place for conferences, but this tried and trusted format remains a powerful marketing and communications tool.

That being said, there is no doubt that, in our rapidly evolving world – with social media and new technologies inspiring a massive shift in expectations – the conference format needs a fresh lease of life. Today’s attendees don’t want passive learning experiences. They want active events that challenge and inspire. As such, event planners must find ways to engage attendees and make sure they don’t stop listening due to death by PowerPoint.

What can event planners do to keep the conference format alive and well? To create exceptional events – whatever the format – you first need to know what you are trying to achieve. So, before you do anything, you need a plan. Start by looking at your audience. Who are they? What topics are likely to be of interest to them? What is it you want them to take away from your event? And, what will appeal to them?

Regardless of your target audience, if you want people to attend your events, you have to give them something worth giving up their valuable time for. People don’t need to attend a conference to hear an expert any more. There is an abundance of information accessible online, so it’s all too easy to watch a video instead. As such, ensuring the right content is crucial when it comes to shaping your agenda in a way that will attract and influence your audience. For example, collaborative peer-to-peer sessions and simulations are much harder to replicate online, and by introducing these into your day, you can attract attendees by providing them with a way to engage in meaningful discussion with their contemporaries.

For more information on  Is the traditional conference dead?  talk to  Apex.co.uk

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