Designing a Memorable Conference Experience: Key Elements to Consider

Designing a Memorable Conference Experience: Key Elements to Consider

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Posted on July 18, 2023

Creating memorable experiences starts with careful planning and understanding your target audience. 

You want attendees to enjoy themselves and look forward to future events.

But currently, you’re struggling. Maybe people view your event as another required annual outing, or perhaps it’s missing that “wow” factor.

Sometimes the same people come yearly, but nobody ever walks away saying, “What an awesome event. I can’t wait till next year!” 

We’ve all been to these functions and dreaded setting aside time to attend them again.

That’s why you’re ready to make a change to this year’s conference. You want it to be a memorable event that leaves attendees walking away, looking forward to the next one. 

Thankfully, you’ve found this article.

Today, we’ll guide you to not only host a successful conference but also a memorable experience as well. Today’s article will look at seven key elements to design an unforgettable event.

Ready to learn more?

Let’s begin.

  1. Get clear on your target audience and their core needs.  

What problems are your target audience facing? How can you help? What can your conference give them that they can’t find somewhere else? 

Get detailed by designing event attendee buyer personas

For instance, let’s say you own an online platform that provides secure cloud space for medical files. Your company partners with a credit card processing business and a few other corporations to supply local medical professionals with what they need to keep their offices running.

These medical professionals are your target audience. Next, consider what problems or pain points they’re facing. 

For instance, they may be unable to keep up with the annual system updates and changes. The software changes constantly, and they want to learn how to work with it efficiently. 

You decide to plan a conference that brings your audience together for a two-day event. At the event, you set up strategic seminars that discuss system updates and how to work with new releases. You invite insightful speakers that help your audience learn in a fun and engaging way.  

You also discuss new software systems that are on the horizon that can help save medical professionals five hours a week in admin work. 

By understanding what your audience struggled with, you were able to plan an engaging conference that helped them walk away with tremendous value.

  1. Choose your event theme. 

Another essential element is the theme of the conference. A well-defined piece can help create a cohesive experience and guide your speaker selection, sessions, and workshops. It can also ensure that event attendees will leave with clear takeaways.

So, what’s the premise of your event? What central themes and sub-themes will you cover and why? Reflect on your audience’s pain points and the solutions you offer to design your piece. To brainstorm theme ideas, you can also review their most recent FAQs and feedback submission forms.

For example, when it comes to clothing and jewelry brands, conducting live events can be particularly important for showcasing products. Items like engagement rings and linen suits require careful consideration and evaluation before purchase, and a live event gives potential buyers a chance to see, touch, and try on these products in person.

In this case, your theme could be wedding planning ideas, vendor resources, or luxury event planning workshops.

  1. Choose an appropriate venue.

Now that you know your audience’s needs and your chosen event theme, it’s time to select a venue. 

The most critical focus? Ensure the event venue has the proper resources to provide attendees with during the event. And choose an inspiring location. Those who hear about the venue might be even more excited about the conference due to its location.

If your event has multiple interactive elements included or needs various booths set up, ensure the venue has space for them. If it doesn’t have the space, then keep looking. Your location must compliment your event’s goals. 

It’s also important to consider the theme: Does your venue connect to it? Does it create the environment you desire it to?  

Also, have you considered if you’ll live stream or record your event? Since the pandemic, many companies have hosted hybrid events with in-person and virtual elements. Whichever route you choose when planning for event, scrutinize the venue to make sure it supports your needs. 

  1. Brainstorm aligned speakers and reach out to them. 

The speakers at your event need to understand how to grab your attendees’ undivided attention. This puts a high responsibility in their hands for the impression your event sets.

If a speaker is renowned, has value to share, and speaks in various tones, attendees are more likely to be invested. If a speaker isn’t reputable and only speaks in a mono-toned voice, then there’s a good chance that the attendees won’t enjoy themselves. 

Allocate time for careful planning so you can research potential speakers for your lineup. Make the invitation worth their while by offering a mutual value exchange.

Pro-Tip: Recruit renowned panelists from your industry or niche to help you organize an unforgettable conference. 

For instance, if you’re hosting an HR conference on management techniques, invite CEOs or entrepreneurs from companies that offer state-of-the-art payroll tools or HRIS software to speak about management trends and tools in HR, how they see the field developing, and their professional experiences.

  1. Plan your workshops and conference activities. 

Knowing your audience can help you determine the activities best for them. 

If you have new business bankers in your audience, consider getting them out of their comfort zone with an engaging luncheon. If you’re hosting an instructional conference, hand out tools and have your audience participate, workshop-style.

Consider asking people within your company for feedback on what they enjoy at conferences to give you a fresh perspective. 

Additionally, take the time to self-reflect.

What do you want your audience to walk away with? Do you want them to have time to ask questions, practice what they’ve learned, or try out products? Keep these questions in mind when planning out your activities.

Use your venue to its fullest potential by examining your space. Do most of the speakers and activities take place in the same room? If there’s space, break off into different areas of the venue for hands-on workshops and discussion groups. 

Remember to set up a table with water and complimentary snacks for attendees. Ask registered attendees about any food allergies or dietary restrictions like needing gluten-free or keto-diet foods.

Pro-Tip: Encourage attendees to stretch and move around between speakers. Physical movement can activate the brain and even help with energy levels. You encourage your audience to move before the next speaker can keep them energized and attentive. 

  1. Create your final schedule and keep everything organized with a planner.

A memorable conference experience needs careful attention to detail. But, keeping track of all the moving pieces can take time, especially for event professionals juggling many other tasks. 

That’s why we recommend using a productivity tool, like a Notion planner template, to create a conference schedule, organize speakers, and keep track of attendee statistics. This can help expedite the planning process and ensure that you can account for all critical elements by providing a centralized platform for collaboration and communication. In addition to this, we strongly advocate partnering with an email marketing agency. They can offer valuable expertise in engaging attendees, enhancing communication, and promoting your event effectively.

  1. Choose your event tech and hire event planners for support. 

In finalizing your event plans, you may need to personalize the event experience, organize registration, and more. 

You can handle this when choosing an event tech solution like InEvent. Check out our event planning solutions or book a free meeting today.

Wrap up

Are you ready to host the most memorable event of the year? 

Remember, focus on your audience. Then choose your theme, venue, speakers, and activities.

Focus on delivering as much value as possible by understanding what makes your audience tick and then providing solutions to help them solve their problems. 

When in doubt, survey potential event attendees to see what experience they’d value most. 

© InEvent, Inc. 2024