If the thought of rows and rows of attendees clicking away on their complimentary pens and gazing at a stock standard PowerPoint presentation makes your blood run cold, you’re not alone. Chances are, your delegates are on their way to expiring too. The days of tired, formulaic conferences are gone. Instead, movements like the unconference continue to gain momentum, and are essential if you want your brand to stay relevant and have a long-lasting impact.
First, a quick recap. A little while ago, we introduced you to the idea of the unconference. In essence, an unconference is exactly what it says it is: everything a conference is not. It’s defined by its lack of rigidity and formality, and especially its emphasis on delegates’ needs and preferences. The intention is for them to drive the event’s proceedings by claiming a session and initiating a discussion. The focus is on active, multi-way engagement and productive collaboration. Here are our top four reasons why you need to consider shaking up your ordinary approach to conferencing, and organise an unconference instead.
1.Your delegates are bored
This may sound a little harsh, but it’s likely true – and it can be dangerous to the reputation of your event as well as your business. Despite the many opportunities brands have to disrupt conferences nowadays, many still rely on age-old approaches that involve speakers who monologue and delegates who daydream. Unconferences offer the perfect opportunity to disrupt old thinking patterns and introduce fresh ideas, to replace presentations with interactive workshops, and to prioritise doing over thinking.
2.Your conferences fail to boost team spirit
Traditional conferences always prioritise networking, but meeting a few new people and exchanging business cards doesn’t necessarily foster real or fruitful connections. By their interactive nature, unconferences have the ability to strip away any kind of hierarchy, to boost team spirit and to build strong relationships as delegates get to know one another. In this way, they’re particularly useful as internal strategic or team-building events.
3.The impact of traditional conferences is fleeting
The long-term effects of unconferences are a major plus. Where the tedium of ordinary events can mean that information goes in one ear and out the other, the energy and active participation of unconferences make the lessons acquired much more meaningful and memorable. As a result, your delegates are also more likely to become fans and ambassadors of your brand and events.
4.You could learn valuable and unexpected insights
Gathering people together presents a unique opportunity to hear multiple voices at once. Are you taking advantage of this, or are you only offering the microphone to your MC and keynote speakers? By shifting the focus and giving your attendees the chance to express themselves, you’re likely not only to stimulate and inspire them, but could gather some valuable information about your brand and industry.
An unconference isn’t meant to be chaotic. In fact, it requires as much strategic planning and execution as any traditional event. You need to carefully consider your goals and outcomes, decide what you want your delegates to leave with, properly prepare your space, and ensure that your facilitators are trained to coax and guide without interfering. If you need help with this, you need to call in the experts.
Shake up your events and speak to the Worx Group team about coordinating your own unconference today. You can make it as small or as large, and as modest or experimental, as you wish. We’re here to help you every step of the way.