Unconventional Conference Ideas to Make Your Programs POP

We have all attended conferences that left us feeling short-changed and uninspired. These days, conferences and conventions are working hard to reinvent the same old formats and introduce fresh, unconventional elements to keep their delegates engaged and entertained. 

One conference employing these tactics to create an unforgettable experience is the upcoming ILEA Live next week in Calgary.  Check out how this event plans to fire up its programming and grab a spark of inspiration for your events. Be warned, spoilers ahead.

Plan the Unexpected; Get Creative with Your Talent

Instead of having your keynotes talk throughout their entire session, you can learn more about them to find critical traits that you can use to add a fun twist before or after their session to lighten the mood. Can they dance or sing? Do they have any unique talents? What else are they known for? Does their company offer a service or product that can be incorporated into their session? Can you bring in someone to interact with the speaker about the presentation? Think interactively and out of the box to catch your attendees off guard.

ILEA Live, for example, plans to do just that by encouraging the audience to participate in a short choir harmony activity during the keynote session with Recording Artist Ciaran Gribbin, the most recent lead singer of INXS. Adding to his fifteen-minute talk about his life journey from growing up in war-torn Northern Ireland as a young musician to writing with the likes of Paul McCartney and Madonna, Ciaran will engage the audience in a short choir session which provides a unifying experience to surprise and delight the audience.

Use Event Technology to Your Advantage

With so many options out there that many attendees have yet to experience, using technology to create an engaging experience related to the conference content can improve the learning experience. 

At ILEA Live,  guests will experience the unique benefits of Bluemedia Dome technology as they use the tech to create a packed theatre in the footprint of a standard workspace. ILEA Live attendees will be mesmerized by this immersive and interactive live event experience, transporting their audience anywhere,  anytime.

This versatile dome technology lets planners masterfully control the presentation environment while creating a spectacular venue experience. Framework supports a range of lighting, sound and video equipment to create the perfect immersive environment.

Use Unconventional Spaces

One of the best ways to WOW guests is to utilize unconventional spaces. Predictable locations significantly contribute to the overall “sameness” of events and can lead to declining attendance. Break the mold and give your attendees something different—something they haven’t seen before. Think sexy nightclubs in the daytime, airport tarmacs and hangars, art galleries and art schools, even parking lots or garages.

The Calgary Palace Theatre will be the setting for one of ILEA Live’s keynote presentations. This 1920s theatre will open attendees’ minds as they are transported back to the first public radio broadcast in Calgary. The space boasts an elaborate plaster ceiling, an elegant exterior, and grand marble staircases, sure to boost the experience.

Make Food Fun Again

Great food experiences are always at the top of the expectation list. Food has the ability to change a mood and flip a perspective on the overall experience. Giving your guests the ability to customize their meals with on-site “build your own” food stations is an affordable way to keep attendees engaged and excited, improving their willingness to participate and interact with the touch points you have set in place.

ILEA Live’s spin on the “build your own” concept is incorporating them into themed meals. For example, a Yahoo pancake breakfast will include a “build your own” pancake bar, where attendees can customize their delectable breakfast creations. They plan to follow this with a French-themed lunch drawing elements of a traditional French street market, tying in bright colours and conventional French street fare.

Regardless of your budget size, your ability to improve event experiences is only limited by your imagination. The fact is, if your event doesn’t evolve and offer new and exciting experiences, it will not stand the test of time.

Tickets are almost sold out for ILEA Live, which will take place in Calgary from August 10 – 12. For more information about the event, visit www.ilealive.com.