5 Must Haves for a Great Conference
Choosing a conference that’s right for you can be difficult. What are you looking for out of the event? Will there be enough valuable information? Will it be fun? Will it be a unique experience and provide something different than other conferences? Will there be enough time for rest in between sessions? What about networking?
There are 5 must haves when you talk about creating an unforgettable conference and I’ll tell you why.
An Awesome Lineup
Every conference needs to have an awesome lineup. This means not only qualified speakers with great topics and fresh perspectives, but a great schedule layout too.
Likely you’ve been to a conference that has speaker after speaker with no gaps in between - or even overlapping speakers. While this is no doubt the easiest way to have a multitude of speakers, it encourages leaving sessions early to get to the next session, which distracts other attendees and doesn’t give you the full value of the content.
Having breaks between sessions encourages networking for speakers and attendees and gives everybody a chance to get water, go to the restroom, and decompress.
Now let’s talk about the speakers. You don’t want boring topics and the same information you’ve heard a million times before. When conferences rebel from the norm and encourage speakers to create talks like Above And Beyond: From Backside Double Corks to Peak Company Culture, it's fun, slightly obscure, reflects the speaker’s journey, and reflects some of the stories he or she will tell as part of his or her talk.
Kellie M. Balu, Manager of Diversity & Belonging at DaVita writes “when people feel like they belong, they are more productive, motivated, and engaged, as well as 3.5 times more likely to contribute to their full potential.”
Strong social connection not only leads to a 50% increase in longevity, but it leads to a better quality of life. Research by Stephen Cole shows that loneliness (or the lack of quality human connections) leads to cellular change that can cause illness.
As a team leader, it’s important to have strong authentic human connection as “the behavior of a business’s leaders is, ultimately, the behavior of the organization. As such, it’s the foundation of the culture.”
At a conference, it is essential to create authentic human connections to enhance learning as connection paves the way for critical thinking.
Downtime, networking, and other activities at events are a great way to create authentic connections with others that will last well past the end of the conference.
Harmony of Mind + Body + Spirit
Sue Thomas, author of Nature and Wellbeing in the Digital Age, points out that life is changing and as we all know, technology is on the rise which is a blessing and a curse.
When you are at a conference all day, it’s easy to just focus on the mind; don’t forget the necessary harmony that includes taking care of your body and spirit!
Conferences have started to integrate healing sessions, yoga, and other such activities that help attendees to stay grounded while spending time enhancing learning.
There are conferences that include forest bathing which is a growing trend across the globe though it is decades old, originating in Japan as shinrin-yoku which means “taking in the forest.”
Nature is good for us, and sitting in conference rooms all day long warrants a break -- yoga, forest bathing, meditation, downtime between speakers, and more.
What’s a conference without a little bit of adventure? Whether your idea of adventure is taking a hike in the Appalachian, ziplining through the Amazon rainforest, listening to the sea organ in Zadar, or whitewater rafting in Colorado, adventure is important for many reasons.
Adventure increases happiness which in turn boosts success. Adventure builds honest communication and builds trust, which brings teams together. Your remote team along with fellow conference attendees will form bonds while adventuring together.
5. Impact on your Industry
Last but not least, when you go to a conference it is important to make sure the topics covered will have an impact on your industry.
Topics such as culture, business development, team management + growth, and company management are helpful for all sorts of industries even more so for team leadership.
As an effective leader it is important to marinate on each talk, ask necessary questions, and discuss these topics with other attendees at the conference.
Remote Leadership Summit, the retreat-style conference for remote leaders, is built on the foundation of our team’s values, values which fully align with each of these “conference must-haves”. By incorporating these elements, attendees can expect a pleasant and valuable journey the entire weekend. Join us in Croatia for a conference where you can enhance your skills, and network while adventuring in nature, rebelling against the norm, practicing a work/play/rest harmony, and making valuable connections to fuel your work life for months after the conference’s close.