How the Best Conference Presentations Educate Attendees

 

Education is the primary reason attendees come to your annual conference. This is why your association puts such a focus on selecting the best content for your event. However, content is only half of the equation. How the information is presented and packaged is critical to educating your attendees.

Help ensure your conference provides the educational experience that your attendees seek by following these tips to make sure your speakers deliver engaging conference presentations. And, be sure to provide the opportunity for attendees to revisit the material afterward in order to help the information really stick.

Delivering engaging presentations

In order to help your presenters create a relatable conference presentation, ask them to frame the “story” of their presentation. People relate and react to stories with a beginning, middle and end. Nobody wants to listen to someone recite a list of facts or statistics.

Discussing case studies can help your speakers present specific information in a relevant and engaging way, while at the same time creating this story. Good case studies provide an example of the existing problem, the solution that was implemented and the outcomes that the solution provided.

By creating a story and delivering it personally and uniquely, your conference speakers will be able to more effectively share information. The attendees will appreciate the presentations more and retain more of the content.

When it comes to presentation slides, few things are worse than seeing a speaker’s entire speech pasted in small text. If text is necessary, encourage speakers to limit the number of words on each slide and to use large, easy-to-read font styles and colors. The strategic use of imagery can also vastly improve a presentation, and most conference presentations should include at least one visual or imagery device.

Additionally, encourage your speakers to go out of the box with their presentation, whether that is with organization, media or delivery techniques. The presentation should be unique and interesting, not just a cookie cutter 10-slide powerpoint presentation. Encourage speakers to add interactive elements to their presentations to keep attendees engaged, such as Q&A sessions, audience suggestions and short audience activities.

Your association itself can help speakers create unique conference presentations, too. Avoid forcing speakers to use the same powerpoint template. Although providing a template makes it easy to review the submitted presentations, it also stifles creativity and makes them repetitive and far less interesting to attendees.

Give attendees options to revisit the materials

After your speakers deliver their fantastic presentations, you’ll want to help reinforce that content by giving attendees the option to revisit the materials. Ongoing engagement is critical for attendees to master concepts presented at your event.

To help ensure this happens, make sure your association’s content strategy involves providing resources your attendees can use when they return to their offices. These methods can include sharing content on social media or providing them with a take-home piece like a USB drive.

One of the best ways to help attendees revisit your conference materials, though, is through an online conference library. Here, you can archive your conference materials, including presentations, allowing attendees to return to this information on their own time.

Put your attendees’ educational needs first by helping provide them with engaging conference presentations, then help them retain that content by giving them a tool to revisit it as often as they’d like.

 

Recorded Webinar – Incorporate Complementary Event Technology with Your Community

Did you miss our latest webinar?

It’s ok; we recorded it!

Online event communities are becoming more popular every year, but many organizations that use this cutting edge service are still years behind when it comes to collecting and distributing content. Learn how you can improve gathering the speaker and exhibitor materials that are stored in your community and how to further shift your content into other appropriate distribution methods with the right event technology.

This 26 minute webinar goes over:

  • Questions to ask to find software that can bring additional value to your event
  • How to identify what to look for when you need to collect materials for your event and community
  • Other important factors when migrate your content to other platforms, whether it’s print, CD or flash drive or a Digital Publishing Platform

3 Must-Have Tools for Conferences

As you may have heard, CareerCast.com named “Event Coordinator” the 6th most stressful job of 2012.

As a person who coordinates meetings and annual conferences for associations, you understand the stress of speakers not hitting their call for final presentations deadline, getting the most current information in the printed conference programs, ensuring those programs arrive on time, making sure your attendees can find their handouts online and offering a website that professionalizes your conference…and all of this is just work-related stress!

While there are a lot of details you need to be concerned about when planning an annual meeting, there are certainly some you SHOULDN’T be worried about. Here are 3 tools you can use to help ease the stress of event planning.

3 Tools to Improve Conferences

  1. Collect, Manage and Review Presentations Using an Online System.
    Stop using email as your tool for collecting your final presentations and start using a system that keeps you organized. Collecting final presentations via email may be better than Fed Ex deliveries, but it certainly doesn’t mean you have a cutting edge collection process. As busy professionals, we understand how easy it is for emails to disappear, sometimes even before we get to see them. (The love/hate relationship with our spam filters is never ending.) Creating one online location for ALL submitters and reviewers streamlines the entire process from your initial call for abstracts to collecting and reviewing speakers’ final presentations.
  2. Provide a Conference Program and Speaker Materials in a Condensed Learning Journal and Flash Drive. More conference materials mean more worry about which conference materials are going to arrive on which day from which vendor at what location. This is completely unnecessary. Instead of having your conference final program, session materials and notepads, try a conference learning journal that includes both your final program and extra note pages in one spiral bound book. Then, attach your flash drive of conference proceedings to the inside cover. And finally, right under that flash drive, include a link or QR code which will lead attendees right to your conference’s online event community where they can download the speaker handouts.
  3. Publishing Your Conference Handouts and Proceedings in a Digital Publishing Platform. Don’t leave it to your presenters to take business cards and send their handouts in a link to session attendees. This is crazy, but it still happens. Start publishing your conference proceedings and session handouts in a consistent online location (better known as a digital publishing platform). Then, keep publishing year after year in this same knowledge center under the same URL… for example, “conferencehandouts.yourassociations.com.” Market this website everywhere (in emails, on the program cover, on session starter slides, etc.). And, if you’re publishing your materials through this digital publishing platform, attendees should just be able to Google it and find it easily.

Spending less time worrying about conference materials will give you more time to focus on more important aspects of planning a meeting or conference.

What are some other resources that would help make your conference planning job less stressful?

Infographic – How to Put Conference Materials Online

Associations understand the importance of putting their session materials, proceedings and other annual meeting content online in order to remain relevant to members and to attract new members.

I know what you’re thinking… “But what is the right way to put conference materials online?”

To answer the question: it depends. (Don’t roll your eyes yet!)

Are you trying to create a year-round online community for attendees to interact? Do you want to become more discoverable by major search engines? Do you need accreditation?

Follow along on this infographic to discover the right way for your association to put conference content online.

Click to zoom, or here is a print-friendly version.

conference handouts websites

How should your association be putting conference materials online?

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