Conference attendees have much higher expectations in this current era of content on demand. The future is bleak for conferences that still rely on monotone lectures and contextual PowerPoint slides to fuel their presentations. Attendees who have companies send them or pay out of pocket for a conference do so for the experience. This means they want access to new and different things they can’t find or achieve on their own.


A big part of building an interactive conference is to understand what your guests expect to get out of the event. It doesn’t hurt to add a question or comment box in your registration form in order to gauge attendees’ expectations in advance. You might have to implement a new feature, but if it fills a need, then it is sure to pay off in the long run.


In the end, it is all about interactivity, and here are some great ideas from Venture Beat that you can implement into your conference to ensure you are meeting your guests’ expectations.


  • Table Teams

Develop an immediate connection between attendees by turning your table assignments into teams. Kick off your event by having each team create a unique name and sign for their table. From there, you can implement activities like team projects, group discussions, and problem-solving scenarios.


  • Crowd Polling

If you’ve ever felt compelled to click on a website poll then you already recognize the fun in comparing your opinion to those of others. Integrating real-time polls into your conference content is easier than ever thanks to new technology. You can even find phone applications available that will save you from renting dedicated polling equipment.


  • Eliminate Content Gaps

Feed guests content even between sessions by incorporating multiple channels of information. You can add LCD monitors to the common area that stream conference updates and speaker interviews. This content can also be streamed through a website or custom built phone application. Some conferences even employ floor hosts to walk around and chat with attendees and vendors.


  • Graffiti Boards

Use oversized whiteboards, walls covered with chalkboard paint or artistically framed cork-boards to design a creative space for your guests to share messages, goals, business cards, and unique offers. Planners can utilize the space to post reminders and share pictures from earlier events. Other ideas include using the graffiti board to host comments, contest submissions, and attendee or speaker bios.


  • Rapid Fire Sessions

In this session format, multiple speakers present in the same track under a strict set of guidelines designed to keep the information flowing. For example, a session might feature five speakers with each one scheduled ten minutes to present their ideas before they ‘tap out’. The result is a fast-paced session that changes topics several times in an effort to keep the audience on their toes.


  • Décor Makeover

One of the best ways to keep attendees engaged is to keep them comfortable in their surrounding environment that doesn’t look like a convention hall or stale conference center. This can be done by adding pieces of lounge furniture, coffee stations, Wi-Fi connectivity, and charging stations to your common areas. Art displays and other conversation pieces are also good additions to the open space found in hallways and staging zones. The goal, of course, is to keep your guests on-site between sessions, instead of running to their cars and hotel rooms.