When it comes to events, there is no question that the more work delegates put into them, the bigger the benefit they will take away. There is nothing worse than a seminar where no-one has anything to say, or an awkward audience participation.
So how can event planners ensure that the sharing of thoughts and ideas takes off? A conference is a unique opportunity for people in the same industry to get together and tackle some of the big questions and issues - you don’t want this to go to waste.
It is vital to lay groundwork before the conference, and get people thinking about the topics and debates they will be partaking in on the day.
LinkedIn is an amazing tool for starting discussions and getting people talking about certain topics. By simply creating a group for the conference and inviting attendees, there will naturally be some discussions formed.
Event organisers can add fuel to the fire by circulating cutting-edge industry articles to get people really talking.
Another great idea is to ask some of the speakers at the conference to write a short piece each, introducing some of the themes they will be covering on the day, and asking people to think about various questions. Online responses to this could help the speakers craft their talks to engage the audience.
Twitter is another fantastic tool for event planners - create a Twitter account for the event and decide on an official hashtag early on. Whenever people tweet about the conference they will use this hashtag, making their thoughts easily accessible to others attending the conferencing and encouraging early networking.
Ask questions! One of the best ways to engage people on Twitter and LinkedIn is to ask direct questions. When a post is phrased as a question, numerous people will put forth their opinions. Again, this is a useful way of sparking debate and ensuring the conference is a lively and useful one for all involved.