One of the biggest problems with taking your team or whole organisation away for a few days of conferencing is making sure you get a proper return on investment. Conferences can cost a lot, and that’s without calculating the cost of taking everyone away from their work for a few days. Sadly, many conferences fail to deliver value, as people get back to the office and just return to their old way of working.
Our team at TomorrowToday has spoken at thousands of events over the past two decades, and the ones that have the best impact and achieve the most do at least three things really well. Take 7 minutes to watch this video, as Graeme Codrington shares these three keys:
Here’s a quick summary:
- Treat your conferences as part of a process, and not just an event
Conferences take a lot of energy and resources, and it’s right to focus on them. But often, conference organising teams forget that the conference should not happen in isolation. You should build up to a conference, and also have some very deliberate and intentional actions, materials and support that go after it.
- Your conferences must be interactive and collaborative
Too many conferences are packed full of one-way communication sessions. In a world where people are able to interact, be social and chat on their mobile devices all the time, they have an expectation of being able to contribute, to have a voice and to connect and engage everywhere – including at your event. Clear some space in your conference programme by taking out some of the “data dump” sessions – send the information in advance, or package it in shorter, sharper sessions.Use technology to enable interactivity. Don’t get people to put their phones away – rather use them to enable connection and contribution during the sessions.
- Enhance the content of your conferences by providing resources and support for a few weeks or months after the event
Participants at conferences need to be able to take the learnings from the conference back to their offices. You need to ask every speaker – both internal and external speakers – to explain how they will help participants to take what they learn at the conference and apply it back in the workplace. You need to focus on supporting changed mindsets and behaviours, and providing resources to help them to do this. It can take up to 40 days for new habits to form, and you should plan to support new habits of thinking and action for at least that long after your event.At TomorrowToday we do this through our Future of Work Academy. This is an online membership site that provides 5 minutes a day of practical and inspirational resources to support the content we present at events. Our clients sign their teams up as members for a period of a few weeks or months, and can track what resources they access and how they’re doing with applying the insights we delivered at their conference. The support this gives people means that the messages they received at the conference actually result in attitude and behaviour changes back in the office.
As a loyal reader of our Tips on Tuesday you can take advantage of a special deal on the Future of Work Academy. We’re giving you full access to the Academy right now for just $1, so you can have a look around, check out the resources and evaluate whether this might be something you can use at your next event. Click here for more information.
If you’d like to speak to one of our team about the Academy, or any other way we can help you ensure you get the most out of your next conference, please just reply to this email or contact our team HERE.