Your big, annual convention is a lot more than just keynotes at General Session. And while exhibit halls, networking areas and receptions tend to capitalize on interactive fun, don’t forget where the most learning is done at any corporate event: the breakout sessions.
“General Sessions are ideal for inspiration or delivering information about an organization’s results and major initiatives, but when it comes to learning, the magic at meetings really happens in the breakouts.” – Steve Friedman, CPG Co-Founder & Creative Strategist
Top-notch event management companies create immersive ways to seize this prime location and use active learning tactics to get people involved. By blending connections with content, we ensure that the message is not only hitting home but will be retained and evangelized.
“Teach people in the way they like to learn”
Your most important goal during your corporate event breakout session is deliver your key message effectively. Sure technology continues to disrupt the way we process information, but we can use that to our advantage. By tailoring tried-and-true educational practices throughout the process, we seize the best opportunity to breakthrough to our audience and leave them with the best impression.
This pyramid does an excellent job illustrating the most effective ways to make your message stick. In the event production world, we’re seeing a lot of people catching on to these practices and using them. Here are some current, major trends that may fit your sessions:
Interactivity: Focus on what people do rather than what they hear as part of the live experience. This is key to engagement and retention.
Storytelling: The classic narrative structure (beginning, middle and end) is relatable and helps attendees understand the message easier.
Presentation Style: Shorter, fast-paced presentation styles like TED and PechaKucha help sharpen the focus and tighten messages with more images and less text.
Technology: Digital tools and mobile apps create great opportunities for content sharing, live streaming, data capture, networking and more.
Take-home Value: Attendees need to generate ROI. This is done through innovative education methods paired with new business leads, sharing best-practices, problem-solving examples and networking opportunities.
Give Back: Connect your people to purpose. Introduce a charitable activity or contest that is as helpful as it is engaging while staying in line with your organization’s values.
Health & Wellness: Activities, contests and sessions can capture the attendee’s attention by promoting a healthy outlook and disrupting their typical meeting experience.
“When it comes to adult learning, one size does not fit all so make sure your breakout sessions are designed (in terms of content, presentation format and even the room layout) to maximize connection and retention for attendees.” – Steve Friedman, CPG Co-Founder
Elevate the Breakout sessions at Your Next Event
So, what’s the best way to ensure your content is hitting home? Co-create it with your audience!
By polling attendees beforehand as part of your pre-conference communication, you can get to know your stakeholders better. Use that information and these tips/trends to develop custom session tracks that attendees can self-select into. Onsite, you can even use the event app to poll your audience and shift directions to address real-time needs. The goal is to deliver a unique, impactful experience for each attendee, and the breakout sessions offer the perfect opportunity!