agenda
    

The concept of a conference is pretty straightforward: your attendees will attend multiple sessions on various topics, and typically come together at certain points of the day for keynote speakers and other large-group sessions. By setting a conference agenda, you’ll be able to help guide your attendees through the day(s) and help them decide which panels to attend. 

The most successful conferences, infuse more excitement into the conference agenda — without running attendees ragged. Here are five tips for how to strike that balance:

1.Build your conference agenda in a way that provides attendees a variety of options...but not too many.

Every great event today has a dedicated conference app that helps attendees build personal itineraries, delivers push notifications that give attendees instant updates and announcements, and allows attendees to take surveys immediately following the conference or right after specific panels.

The importance of that last point is so, so, so important! Your conference agenda shouldn’t just be a static page – by immediately surveying attendees, you’ll gain invaluable insights and the most accurate feedback since the info is fresh in your attendees’ minds. 

By syncing your conference agenda with a conference app, your attendees will feel excited, empowered, and ready to go by having everything they need for your event in the palm of their hand! 

2. Sync your Conference App with your Conference Agenda.

You should absolutely have breaks between sessions, but this is a chance to energize attendees a little bit. What are some things you could do?

  • Offer snacks or do a candy bar
  • Put together fun photo ops
  • Open up the expo hall and let your sponsors activate some fun
  • Have live musicians playing in the halls
  • Create mini-events (a champagne toast, a cocktail half-hour, etc.)
  • Do a scavenger hunt in your agenda or through your conference app

3. Plan energizing activities during conference breaks.

You should absolutely have breaks between sessions, but this is a chance to energize attendees a little bit. What are some things you could do?

  • Offer snacks or do a candy bar
  • Put together fun photo ops
  • Open up the expo hall and let your sponsors activate some fun
  • Have live musicians playing in the halls
  • Create mini-events (a champagne toast, a cocktail half-hour, etc.)
  • Do a scavenger hunt in your agenda or through your conference app

4. Make time in the conference agenda for attendees to decompress and network.

We did say it’s all about striking a balance. Be sure to dedicate a room to letting attendees relax and recharge. In this space, you’ll want to, at a minimum, make it quiet, include comfortable seating, and have plenty of places to charge devices.

Go above and beyond (if your budget allows) by offering tea, coffee, water, snacks, etc. You might even consider having some extra earbuds and chargers on hand, just in case!

5. Schedule in some FUN!

Conferences don’t need to be straight-laced the whole time! Sure, attendees will network, but they’ll need to let off some steam after a long day of sessions, too. Here are some suggestions:

  • Invite a cover band in to play some timeless tunes
  • Encourage some karaoke
  • Make dinner reservations for different groups
  • Plan an attendee bar crawl
  • Work out a discount at nearby attractions (museums, zoos, etc.)
  • Bring in a comedian or a magician

6. Offer something active mid-day between conference sessions


Similarly, you’ll want to give attendees a chance to stretch their legs — literally! Some popular activities are morning jogs and yoga sessions. On your registration form, give people the option to indicate whether or not they’d be interested in some kind of group fitness activity. That’ll help you determine if you should plan something, and what that something is.

Looking for more attendee engagement tips? Oh, good — we wrote a whole guide about it! Get your free download:

ePly How to Engage Your Event Attendees

7.Organize the conference agenda with panels/sessions by topic and with multiple views.

If you’re hosting a major event with multiple sessions that fit under a variety of topics, we strongly recommend organizing your panels and sessions by “track.” A track consists of many subjects within an overarching theme. For example, if your conference is about marketing, you might have tracks that consist of design, copywriting, account management, etc. (i.e. broad topics) – an individual track in design may consist of sessions like, “Intro to UX Design”, “Customer Journey Mapping”, and “Color Theory for UI” to name a few. 

Not all attendees view their info or organize their day the same way. To that end, make sure that the conference agenda is flexible so that attendees can view the day’s events by time slot, by speaker, by length of session, and by topic.

8. List the sponsors for each session on your conference agenda.

This is yet another great opportunity for you to expand your sources of sponsorship revenue. When businesses sponsor a session or panel, the conference agenda serves as virtual real estate that grabs the attention of your attendees. Moreover, you can include external links to your sponsors websites and landing pages, and even include an event discount code in your agenda to encourage outbound clicks to your sponsors! 

While these tips are essential and should be followed as closely as possible to maximize engagement, they are by no means an exhaustive list – feel free to get creative with your conference agenda! After all, you know your organization and attendees best.