Home' micenet eMag : micenet December 2017 Contents EVENT CONTENT | PETA MOORE
ost delegates attend your
conference to learn and to
be inspired, so the priority
for us as conference
producers is to design a program worth
attending. An important part of designing
engaging and impactful content for your
conference or event is considering the
physical and emotional environment you
create for attendees.
You’ve pulled together an amazing line up of
speakers who all have new and exciting
information to impart - but don’t leave it there.
Remember what your mother used to say -
“It’s not only what you say, but how you say it!”
There are numerous studies that explain the
psychology of learning environments better
than I can, but simply put, learning is
influenced by the state of mind of the learner
plus ambient factors such as air temperature,
music, lighting and even the chairs they sit on.
When designing the flow of your
conference program and planning how you
want to engage your delegates, be sure to
map the delegate journey and consider ways
to improve their experience every step of the
way. In doing this consider two questions:
1 How can you influence their state of
Think about the arrival process at a
conference for delegates - it’s often hectic,
disorientating, and even stressful. This can
lead to people going instinctively into ‘survival
mode’ and up go their defensive behaviours.
It sounds simple but take some time and
Learning is influenced by the state-of-the-mind of the learner.
So listen up, says Peta Moore.
IT’S NOT ONLY WHAT
YOU SAY, BUT HOW
YOU SAY IT!
think this process through. Ensure there is clear directional signage within the venue to enable
them to find you without issue; if the venue is large consider personal signposts so people have
someone to greet them along the way.
If appropriate for your event, consider registering delegates after they’ve had their coffee and
had time to put their bags and coats on their seats. Prioritise their state of mind on arrival and
make them feel welcome, relaxed and at ease because research shows that when we don’t feel
threatened, we have a willingness to be open to new ideas and direction from others - creating
the ideal learning environment!
This is just one example. If you focus on the delegate experience like this throughout the
entire conference or event, your audience engagement will noticeably improve.
2 What ambient factors should I consider?
We’ve all experienced sitting in that session and it’s suddenly freezing, am I right? It’s
distracting, and often difficult to concentrate in the same way as sitting for hours on end in
uncomfortable chairs can be. These factors seem obvious but are often overlooked and form
an integral part of the delegate experience.
To add to these practical considerations, consider the energy levels in the room and match
the room setup to ensure maximum delegate / speaker interaction. Change the seating
configuration to ensure the room feels full - or if your room has fixed seating then move people
together at the beginning of the session. Try different seating arrangements such as circular
rather than rows, or cabaret instead of classroom. This will raise the energy levels, and add to
the experience for both the delegates and the presenters.
Other considerations for a well-designed program include:
• Well-timed breaks - make sure the program isn’t repetitive or running too long between
• Music - especially when delegates are walking in and out of sessions
• A great MC - they will keep the energy levels up, make people feel welcome and manage the
learning environment to ensure delegates feel included
• Q&A sessions - allow ample time for delegates to ask questions, and turn it around and get
your speakers or panelists to ask questions of the audience to spark conversations
Don’t forget conferences should be inspirational - they should inspire delegates to implement
what they have learned by motIvating and energising them. I’d encourage all event planners
and conference organisers to keep looking for new and exciting ways to engage your delegates
let’s keep them coming back! m
Learn more about Peta Moore and Nectar Creative Communications at www.nectarcc.com.au.
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