Lots of different types of people attend conferences - and I don’t just mean different roles, career levels, educational backgrounds, etc. I’m talking personality type: introverts and extroverts; people who are there to learn, and people who are there to kick back; people who take effective notes and people who...don’t, so much.
Depending on your personality (or even your mood), a different vibe will affect your comfort. These are four go-to environment types we recommend incorporating into any conference that’ll leave ALL attendees feeling refreshed and engaged:
Conferences can be tiring, and you want to make sure attendees will stay on-site rather than heading back to their hotel room to recharge. (Or worse, just leave!) Find a quiet spot where you can bring in some couches, coffee stands, charging stations - anything that attendees could use to regroup and even catch up on a little work. Depending on your audience, they may even appreciate things like massages, manicures, and yoga.
Since we’re talking conferences, it’s likely that most of your spaces are already dedicated to being educational. But see if you can work in a room with tables where attendees can discuss and collaborate between sessions. You might even designate a table for each topic, so attendees who are flying solo can find people to chat with. Go the extra mile and provide some spare supplies: pens, notebooks, sticky notes, folders, etc.
It’s not uncommon for attendees to be intimidated by the prospect of networking. Creating a dedicated space means anyone in it is open to having a networking conversation, breaking down at least that initial barrier of starting one! Tall tables are ideal for this type of room: You might even leave some games or conversation starters on the tables to help some of your more shy attendees get the ball rolling.
And for all of your social butterflies, give them something to be excited about! One thing we’ve seen a lot over the last few years are spaces that were built specifically to be a social media photo opp. Pretty much anything that’s worth taking a picture with: A fun backdrop, an interactive display, a great view from the conference center. If you go this route, be sure to encourage attendees to tag you and use your hashtag in their post!
One quick note: These spaces don’t have to be huge or elaborate. If you’re operating on a tight budget (aren’t we all) or are short on square footage, see what kind of nooks and crannies your venue has where you can add a few nice touches.
Anything you can do to make your event more engaging for attendees is worth a shot! Looking for more ways to really amplify their experience? We put a ton of tips in our guide, 6 Ways to Supercharge Your Attendee Engagement. Check it out!