Once you have defined the purpose of an event and written goals and objectives, the next step is to develop session formats that will suit your attendees. The data gathered from attendee research will help you plan the program content. Today participants want to take an active role in their own learning.
1. Interactive session formats:
- Audience reaction team = four to five participants query the main speaker from the stage with questions from the audience
- Buzz session = the audience is divided into discussion groups; each group reports the findings during a follow up plenary session
- Colloquium = informal meeting for discussion, usually of academic or research nature, in order to ascertain areas of mutual interest through exchange of ideas; done when deem convenient and with little regularity
- Debate = two teams composed of two or three members each are arguing the opposite sides of an issue
- Fishbowl = an interchange between an inner circle debating an issue and an outer circle of observers
- Interview = the presenter is questioned by a moderator on behalf of the audience
- Seminar = a lecture or a dialogue, with a small group of participants 10-50, let by a specialist who meet to share observations or experiences on a particular subject
- Workshop = an intense, often hands-on session in which a limited number of attendees participate directly in learning a new skill or tacking an issue
- Symposium = a meeting of experts in a particular field, at which papers are presented and discussed by specialists on particular subjects with a view to making recommendations concerning problems under discussion
Build as many types of audience participation as possible.
- To learn: information that will help them today and tomorrow
- To network: to share experiences or “war stories”
- For recreation: for fun (e.g. golf), for team-building or for the social events
- People learn best in pleasant surroundings; they repeat pleasant activities
- People tend to learn better by doing than listening
- You learn when you are ready. People feel tired after a heavy-meal, before-after a holiday people might not feel like learning.
A successful event incorporates learning, networking and social events.
- Identify the type of the speaker needed: celebrity, industry insider, a best-selling author, a sports personality or a professional speaker.
- You can also identify speakers through a Call for Presentations or Abstracts (more about it in a future post) especially for academic conferences
- Professional speakers are booked sometimes up to a year in advance, and they are usually represented by an agency like Speakers’ Spotlight for example.
- If the speaker is not a professional speaker, provide them with as many resources as possible to ensure they are well prepared.
- Reach out to speakers by phone and/or email. The email should include the name of even, date, session times, and a tentative session name and description of the session. Once they accept your invitation ask them to provide you with a session name and description based on their expertise (or they can revise and adjust your suggested points) They should also provide you with a short biography or introduction of themselves and any other materials that could be used in the promotion of the session.
- For more information on how to prepare speakers for your event check out Tedx Speaker Guide
Hire the best speakers for each session. Help speakers by giving them as much information about the event, the goals and objectives, the identified learning needs as possible.
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