Attendees to annual meetings, sales meetings, conventions and such are there to connect and LEARN. These events offer a reprise from the everyday and allow colleagues to stay up-to-date, find out what’s new and expand their skill sets.
I don’t have to tell you meeting planners out there, that each detail in event planning is followed by about a thousand more details. But sometimes, it is the simple things that we miss. Here are a few easy ideas to keep in mind so you can set the stage for learning.
1) Supply the Tools: When you were a kid, back-to-school shopping was fun. Your parents took you to the store to buy new markers, shiny crayons, pencils and papers and more. Supply your attendees with notebooks, colorful pens, Sharpies and Post-It Notes in many shapes and sizes! This will help them to take notes with flair!
2) Volume Control: Make sure the workshop areas are well lit. If you have a workshop that may get a bit loud, make sure to put it in a room where there woohoos and cheers will not flow into another room.
3) Connect the Dots: Suggest each session start with engagement from the get go. Have attendees connect to their reason for being at this class or workshop. Have the presenter ask attendees to write down why they chose this particular class, or ask just a few people to state what they hope to learn from the class.
4) Deliver on Many Levels: Make sure your presenters are aware that people learn in different ways; some are visual, some are auditory and others are kinesthetic. Their message should be seen via visuals, said via words and performed via action. Keep it simple, attendees can partner up to talk, draw a picture or write a poem about a certain part of the presentation.
5) Involve: Another point to address with the speakers is to ask if they involve attendees in the talk; this is a great way to keep them attentive. If they know they may be called upon to do something, they will stay ready. This can be as simple as asking individuals questions during the presentation, asking the room for a show of hands, or just having them write some answers on a piece of paper.
6) Don’t Let Them Leave Empty Handed: Make sure your audience has some sort of task to accomplish after the presentation is over. Give them a simple assignment, have them write it down and ask them to email you their results. Better yet, if it’s possible, ask they do this task during the meeting, and then give them a hashtag to use so they can share their experience on social media.
The simplest of ideas can have the biggest impact, and this case, these simple steps really will make a difference.