Aristotle famously said, “The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” His philosophy of synergy assumes that the interaction of multiple elements in a system produces an effect greater than the sum of their individual pieces. Smart guy.
Bringing this synergistic philosophy to meetings can have groundbreaking results—creating the ultimate experience for attendees. When attendees collaborate with each other, they walk away richer in knowledge and understanding than if they had the experience alone. Great meeting and event planners know collaboration is key.
Here are best practices to make events collaborative:
- Choose the right topics. Think from your audience’s point of view. What will they find interesting? What will help them prove the value of their industry? Their position? Find a way to make your content connect on a deeper level.
- Create a #hashtag for your meeting. Start promoting hashtags and social channels on your event Web site and in your online registration process. This allows your attendees to connect before the conference. On site, brand all event signage with the hashtags and channels. Hear relevant, immediate feedback and participate in conversations. Deliver social value back to attendees by retweeting or sharing their content.
- Change typical room setup. Show attendees right from the start that your meeting won’t be a run-of-the-mill experience. Even just changing up the regular theatre-style seating to a circle-shaped layout can have surprising effects. Or, make alternative seating areas to include bean bag chairs or sofas.
- Encourage group brainstorming. Instead of the typical Q&A format, encourage a group brainstorm. Pose a challenge to the group, and act as a facilitator as one person’s answer is used as a jumping off point for discussion, possibilities and outcomes.
What are some best practices for audience collaboration that you have seen at events?