Do you start to yawn as soon as someone mentions that you have to go to a business event? Are you tired of the 30-minute and hour-long blocks with massive PowerPoint slides? Does the idea of a day of lectures with little to no interaction with speakers or idea-makers cause you to run as fast as you can in the other direction? If so, then you are like many who want a different way to experience, digest, and discuss new ideas.
Brand new formats are emerging that allow you to gather information fast, digest it, dissect it, discuss it, or even spontaneously create the discussions! These are exciting ways of experiencing new ideas and are very in tune with the multitudes of data sources that you experience every minute of the day.
How can a conference work if there is no pre-set agenda or speakers? For those seeking creative ideas and input, the agenda becomes the first discussion point for the attendees. Topics and speakers are put forth by the attendees to be presented by the attendees. Multiple topics can happen at once in different rooms or even corners of the same room. Different formats can be used either including or excluding media; small, pre-set spaces; or even the proverbial soap box.
The agenda is almost like a marketplace where the best ideas and topics receive the highest "votes" to make it into the "unconference". These forums provide a great place for creative ideas and insights.
OK, so now you are bored again. Demos? Really? Again, not what you think. These are demos that only take about 5 minutes to complete. The timing is set by a buzzer or a bell when the demo starts. Those who want to present products or technology have five minutes to pitch to the attendees. Multiple "booths" are set up around the room and they all start presenting at once.
You can rotate the attendees by design or let them naturally select their demos. The attendees have to know that they cannot just hang out at one place the whole time as others need to be able to see all of the demos.
Knowledge Cafes (or mini-breakouts)
These are a bit more traditional, as knowledge cafes have more of a "facilitator" feel to them. But, the groupings are dynamic and mix up the attendees across multiple breakout sessions so they are not always working with the same people. Open-ended questions predominate, prodding the attendees to think freely and come up with ideas or suggestions to address topics framed by the facilitator.
These are just some suggestions for your next event. Depending upon the audience, the attendees, and the goal of the event or meeting, there are many more creative ways to engage your audience and accomplish your goals. The key is thinking about what would make your target audience want to participate and return for the next event. For more information on event planning, contact facilities like Lake St Louis Banquet Center.