Collectable Experiences Differentiate Your Conference
Conference attendees are collectors of experiences. They don't remember or share mediocre or vanilla...only the extremes...Great! Wow! Sucks! Disappointing!
The days of blowing the dust off of last year's program and filling slots is predictable and vanilla, . Organizers will need to view their premium conference products as ones that must be in perpetual beta mode. For the healthiest of conferences, this will require changing things up by 25% annually.
In experience design, it's critical to articulate that the experience belongs to the attendee. Not the volunteer leaders. Not the speakers. And, not the sponsor who paid you a bunch for access. All of these segments exist to serve and earn the attention of the paying attendee.
If your return on attendee experience (ROE) is in need of an upgrade, where does one start?
Articulate your conference Mojo (We use the EPIC model).
Make the best parts better - selfie or share worthy.
Make the worst parts more bearable.
Barbecue sacred cows. Especially the ones that don't belong to the attendee.
Conferences should take attendees on an emotional journey with highs, lows and less vanilla.
Improving attendee experiences is a top priority for the majority of conference planners. Yet few of us plan the attendee experience correctly. We approach conference planning from the inside-out. Considering the attendee experience is an afterthought. Most conference improvement plans look something like this: Systems & Resources ? Procedures ? Touchpoints ? Interactions ? Experiences. Although....
Your attendees don't just want to sit back and watch speakers present. They want to be part of the action and have an immersive experience. Making that happen will mean deeper engagement and more satisfied conference attendees.
Attendees are all you really need to have a meeting, right? This is something you obviously know, but you may keep a little too far back in your mind. If you surveyed 1,000 planning kick-off meetings where the meeting planner and executive leadership convene to discuss event strategy, I'd bet less than 1 percent of those meetings focus on the attendee and the outcomes wanted...
Do you as an event or conference organizer plan scream machine roller coaster event experiences? Or ho-hum, obligatory amusement park train rides? What do your attendees want in their conference experience? Do you even know what they want? Do your attendees want a plain vanilla, flat-line experience? Or do they want something unforgettable with unexpected emotional twists?
Supporting any large, complex project-particularly re-designing a conference or convention-is a daunting undertaking. If you share this vocation and challenge, here are a few foundational tools we recommend using in your design thinking process. Generally speaking, there are numerous stakeholders influencing and executing an event. Leading a collaborative and cohesive team toward a common vision can be tricky without clear beacons.