Seven inspiring ideas to make your conference a great success
Congress photo option
06-03-2024, 12:28
Congresses provide an excellent platform for sharing the latest developments and achievements within a field or sector. But if your congress is organised annually, it can be quite a challenge to make each edition at least as interesting and appealing to participants as the previous one. How do you prevent your congress from feeling routine and lacking in innovation, without immediately having to invest huge extra amounts of money? We present you with some simple but impressive ways to upgrade your congress so that this edition will remain in the memory of the participants for a long time.
1. Use tools to promote networking

To speed up networking at your conference and ensure that everyone knows how to find each other easily, advanced conference registration software with the option of on-site badge printing, for example, is a plus. Also introduce gaming elements into the networking moments, such as a digital scavenger hunt or a quiz that guides participants through the event. This encourages active participation and makes networking fun and interactive.

2. Create a reward system for participation

Develop a reward system to encourage participation and interaction. For example, create a unique 'congress token' that people can earn by participating in sessions and then spend on exclusive (after)content, workshops or networking opportunities. This encourages participation. You can also link competition elements to it. The participant who has earned the most coins during the congress, for instance, will receive a prize.

3. Consider the welfare of your participants

An entire day of running around and shaking hands at a conference can be an intense affair. Be mindful of this and offer your participants a wellness zone, with activities such as mindfulness sessions, short meditations to refresh participants and healthy snacks and drinks to revitalise. Also make sure there are enough breaks and sufficient time between the different parts of the conference programme. Introducing games and VR can also greatly increase the congress enjoyment for participants. All these kinds of extras show that the congress organiser is mindful of participants' well-being.

4. Also make plenary sessions as interactive as possible

Avoid situations where speakers just stand on stage broadcasting while the audience secretly falls asleep for lack of engagement. Rather, provide live polling and feedback using mobile technology to gather the opinions and preferences of participants in the room in real time. This will make the conference more interactive and thus energising. Moreover, the data you collect from the affair gives you valuable insights that you can then incorporate back into articles and papers.

5. Allow for flexibility with online support

Use a conference registration software that allows participants to put together their own agenda and adjust it on the day. This increases the personal relevance of the programme and improves participant satisfaction. The deployment of a linked dedicated congress app can make the experience even more user-friendly. With the help of all this kind of technology, you optimise participant flow and provide a personalised experience for everyone as much as possible. Furthermore, by analysing participants' behaviour and preferences, you can better tailor future events to everyone's needs.

6. Upgrade that goodie bag

Discuss with the exhibitors and sponsors of your conference how you can come up with a worthy, truly meaningful goodie bag. Be creative with what you add to the bag and think beyond a pen and notebook. The best thing you can achieve with a goodie is that participants will use this item frequently in everyday life, so they will be reminded of your congress throughout the year and will definitely attend again next year.

7. Make sustainability your priority

Take a step beyond mainstream sustainability initiatives such as eliminating disposable plastic. Try making your congress a zero-waste event, for example, or generously compensate for the congress' carbon footprint. Communicating about this strengthens the social value of your congress title.

By applying the above unexpected yet so logical tips, you will lift your conference to the highest level. Not only will you increase participant satisfaction and engagement, you will also create a unique and memorable experience that will stay with them long after the event. The success of a congress is measured not only by its content, but also by the ways you engage and inspire participants.


Want to receive more tips on how to organise a successful conference? Then download our paper: Manifesto for successful congress organisation.