Home' micenet eMag : micenet August 2018 Contents EVENT CONTENT | PETA MOORE
o you ever feel like it’s time to
shake things up? Have your
delegate numbers ‘stabilised’
or worse are they declining
year-on-year? Even if your delegate numbers
are strong, are you sure they are getting the
most out of their attendance? Do you ask
“what could we do differently?”
More than ever you need to have a two-
way conversation with your delegates at your
conference. You need to engage with them
not just as delegates, but as people. They
need to be engaged, learn and collaborate.
Previously I have shared how to achieve this
with the careful selection of keynote
speakers, but there is a lot more to a
conference program than keynotes.
There are plenty of ways to get your
delegates involved at your event. Indeed,
there is a long list of session formats that we
incorporate to ensure audience participation
and drive outcomes for our clients.
A word of advice though. . . make sure
you are clear on what you want to achieve
with each session. Some suit different
audience profiles better than others and you
need to be careful not to make the audience
feel uncomfortable for the sake of ‘shaking it
up’. Here are three of our favourite session
styles for you to consider incorporating into
your next conference or event:
1 Fishbowl Conversations
The advantage of a fishbowl is that it allows
the entire audience to participate in the
conversation! Four to six delegates can talk
at any one time as they are seated in the
Peta Moore says changing things up at events takes more than one head.
IT’S A TWO-WAY
centre of the room while everybody else is seated around the outside. You have two options - a
closed or open fishbowl. I would recommend the latter. To do so you would need to leave one
or more chairs open to members of the audience. When a member of the audience occupies a
chair - A.K .A. joins the fishbowl - an existing member would need to leave.
We incorporated this session format into one of our client conference programs in late 2017.
Our Master of Ceremonies, Warwick Merry, facilitated this session by introducing each topic,
enforcing a time limit for each topic and summarising the session. Time permitting you should
be able to cover a variety of topics like we did (we allowed an hour and a half). The session was
captured on video and the outcomes of the discussion were then written up as a post-event
communication piece. On that note it is important that you do your homework before the event.
What do your delegates want to discuss and what are their opinions? Although fishbowls are
primarily self-organising, this information will assist your facilitator and ensure your delegates
walk away feeling engaged.
2 TED Style Talks
TED talks are succinct yet personal and more inspirational than your traditional presentations.
Why? Everything is relevant and purposeful. The speaker will have anything from five to 18
minutes to share their idea. There may be stories, jokes or surprises throughout, and everything
has to be relevant. Most importantly, TED style talks are delivered without notes. The speaker is
far more likely to connect with the audience - making eye contact, speaking candidly or through
stories. To see what I’m talking about, Google “How to Make Stress Your Friend” and watch
Kelly McGonigal’s presentation. You will be hooked by the content and delivery.
3 Campfire Sessions
At first delegates may think it is a traditional presentation with one or multiple speakers
presenting at the front of the room, however after 15 or 20 minutes the focus shifts to the
delegates. The purpose of this session format is to create an open forum in which the delegates
drive the discussion and knowledge sharing. The facilitator will invite presenters to respond to
questions or comments shared in the room allowing delegates to share their experiences and
hear a variety of perspectives on an issue. This is meant to be a much more informal session
than a standard panel - if budget allows why not replace the rows of ‘convention chairs’ with
fold out camping chairs to really set the scene?
I urge you to try one of these formats or customise your own. There are many more ways to
engage your audience - just remember it’s all about what would suit your audience and add
value to the delegate experience by creating a two-way conversation. m
Learn more about Peta Moore and Nectar Creative Communications at www.nectarcc.com.au.
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