One of the key challenges that marketing leaders facing in planning events/conferences is how to generate dynamic and compelling content that will engage the audience. The de facto approach to conferences remains a back-to-back series of PowerPoint presentations which are interrupted only for lunch and vendor exhibits. While formal presentations remain the best way to educate a large audience about a topic, too much repetition in this format will lead to declining audience interest. I recommend mixing up the format of conference sessions to keep the audience better engaged.
Alternative techniques to formal presentation sessions include:
- Short video clips – professionally prepared or You-Tube style amateur videos break up the monotony of back-to-back speakers.
- Panels – in which the moderator asks a series of questions to a series of subject matter experts. If moderated properly can be a strong alternative to PowerPoint.
- Debates – on a controversial topic between two leading authorities. One takes an affirmative position while the other takes a negative position on a controversial topic.
- Roundtables – in which a small group of participants engage in informal, unscripted dialogue about a particular topic. Should be facilitated by a well-informed moderator.