When you hear the words “business conference,” most likely you don’t get too excited. Oftentimes employees relate conferences to more work – not a place where they can have a good time. Ideally, a business conference will combine work with pleasure to help encourage creative thinking and team building.
Below are a few tips on balancing work and fun during business conferences:
Provide some food
Everyone loves food, so a great way to make a business conference a little more enjoyable is to provide lunch or some snacks. Having food immediately shows employees that you want the conference to be casual and carefree, as opposed to rigid and uptight. Food also encourages socialization among coworkers and can be a great icebreaker.
Have a guest speaker
Invite a guest speaker to the business conference to provide employees with some entertainment and perhaps a different way of thinking or looking at an idea. Encourage the guest speaker to engage the audience, possibly provide some humor, and ask questions at the end.
Introduce new ideas
A great way to make a business conference a little more exciting is to introduce new ideas or technology. State the direction the company is heading and what that means for the employees. For example, you might be considering switching over to VoIP phone service (Voice over Internet Protocol) – which allows users to make calls via an internet connection rather than a phone line. Integrate this into the conference and perhaps demonstrate how it works.
Have a contest
Simple, yet very effective at helping employees focus and pay attention. Introduce the contest at the beginning of the conference and give the winner a prize at the end. The majority of the population is competitive, so even a small prize of $20 or a gift card to Starbucks will encourage participation.
Take an exercise break
Though normal breaks will still be necessary, take a few “exercise breaks” during the conference as well. Have the group leaders switch off in making everyone stand up and do some five-minute exercises. This can be anything from stretching to running in place to learning a short dance routine. Doing this surely will not disappoint, and everyone will feel happier due to the increase in endorphins.
If it’s out of town, explore!
If the business conference is out of town, all the better! Explore the city you’re staying in and treat the conference as a mini vacation. Go out to bars and try new restaurants with coworkers, tour museums in the evenings, and spend plenty of time sightseeing! If possible, consider staying an extra day to really get a chance to soak in the city.
Change the way you present
If you’re the one giving the presentation, change up the way you are presenting as often as possible. In other words, don’t just stand up and speak the whole time – switch it up with videos, question and answer sessions, small group discussions, quizzes, games, or anything else you can think of that will keep the audience engaged and participating.
Sarah Brooks is a freelance writer covering a wide variety of topics from personal finance and small business to food and nutrition. She currently resides in Glendale, AZ with her husband and baby girl.
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