The power of participation

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If you ask attendees what they want from a conference, they will typically answer: learning and connecting with others. Unfortunately most conferences offer little opportunity for connection limited mainly to lunch or coffee breaks and social events. However, those are not great ways to connect with others at a conference, as research summarized in a recent article by Jonah Lehrer in Wired indicates:

"Do people mix at mixers? The answer is no…Mixer parties are supposed to free their guests from the constraints of preexisting social structure so they can approach strangers and make new connections. Nevertheless, our results show that guests at a mixer tend to spend the time talking to the few other guests whom they already know well." People Mix at Mixers? by Paul Ingram and Michael W. Morris

So what is the best way to enable your attendees to make new connections whilst still learning: we suggest you include sessions that encourage attendee participation in your programme. These enable participants to:

    • Connect with other participants during the sessions not just outside the sessions
    • Benefit from the knowledge and expertise of other people in the room, not just the speaker
    • Encourage further connections during breaks and socials thus making it easier for people to mix during these events which in turn contributes to making them a positive and fruitful exercise

Attendee participation can take many forms, from roundtable discussions, to live surveys, brainstorming sessions, to case studies or simulations …etc … or any mix of the above.

If you would like to find out more or would like us to help you incorporate more attendee participation in your event, please contact Estelle at contact@samui.co.uk or on tel: 01295 278 216.

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