The age of the lecture conference is over.
Long live the lecture!
In its place has arisen a new format that is less focused on delegates being spoken to and more focused on collaboration. The common theme of today’s successful conferences is facilitating a connection between like-minded peers and professionals. It generates its own energy and that energy is palpable. The ability to stop, listen, and choose to engage with someone who is presenting their latest work gives attendees time pathways to think about how the concept can apply to their own professional endeavors. It is a shame for that energy to be limited to 3 or 4 days out of the year.
What if you can get that energy flowing among delegates before you ever opened the conference?
What would happen if that energy continued well after the closing ceremony?
With the right planning and tools, you can do all of that and more.
- Sessions are not rooms
Sessions are not a room; they are a planning concept to bring together like-minded individuals around a shared interest. People do this naturally and your conference can tap into this natural tendency. When you do, your conference is no longer contained to a physical room in the conference center. Your conference is global.
- Self-forming is not chaos
The ability to self-form into groups around a common cause is a natural behavior for most people. Letting attendees and delegates create the conference into an image of themselves can relieve much of the stress conference organizers experience if they are just able to let it go. The biggest reason most organizers hesitate to do this is the fear of losing control of the conference; that chaos will take over. Sometimes a little chaos is good. Self-forming does not mean a free-for-all. A high functioning self-forming group comes together around agreed-upon norms for the group. The conference can provide the template of norms to maintain respect and professionalism. By sprinkling a little control to the chaos, great ideas can emerge that make the conference much more than the whole of the attendees.
- Go global quick
Once a conference organizer embraces that sessions are not confined to the walls of a conference center, they can then take their conference global. When the doors are opened to attendees around the world, the opportunity for organizations to build association members increases with each contact. Sessions that accommodate global participants also provide the opportunity for engagement with attendees who are unable to attend the conference due to financial limitations, geopolitical restrictions, or personal reasons.
- Break free of your calendar
A conference does not need to be confined to the 4 days on a calendar a year. When conference organizers have selected their speaker list and the themes have been selected, the conference can start. Discussions can begin to form around the themes. Ideas and collaborations will start to flow and build a buzz for the conference. When speakers act as moderators of discussions, they can coalesce concepts and are able to refine their own talking points to address common themes from the discussions. When the conference ends, the discussion does not need to end with it. The collaboration can continue well beyond the closing ceremony.
- Watering holes are universal
All work and no play makes for dull times. Not everything needs to be business-centric. At some point, we all need a break and to connect on a personal level. In the office, that has been the proverbial water cooler. For the modern conference, you can do this with virtual sessions. Make space for individuals to connect before they ever arrive at the conference. Give them a space to stay connected during the conference and share stories. When all is done, keeping the watering hole open post-conference allows individuals a place to come back to and connect with their peers.
At Eris Unleashed, we pride ourselves on breaking down the barriers of traditional conferences. The Eris Unleashed platform is designed for maximum flexibility. We can meet all your needs for a traditional conference. We can organize an un-conference. Eris Unleashed brings together the right mix of technology and knows how to allow conference organizers to put on a successful event every time.
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