It sometimes comes as a shock to executives when they discover that many of their employees are deeply negative about imminent company conferences.
While it is true that receptivity to away-day conferences can vary a lot based upon background factors such as company morale and current success levels, even so, in many cases there is a high degree of cynicism about such events. Some surveys show that attendees expect them to be over long, boring and often irrelevant to their day-to-day work challenges.
So, here are a few tips as to how you can positively motivate your personnel in the run up to that important conference.
- Make certain that the content is relevant to the majority of people’s jobs.
- Design your conference to be as interactive as possible. Make sure attendees will be asked to contribute and regularly. That way they will feel they are bringing something to the table rather than only attending in order to provide an audience.
- Don’t allow any individual speaker or presentation to go on for longer than around 45 minutes. That is the optimum duration for attention span in presentation surroundings.
- Build plenty of comfort or fresh-air breaks into the schedule. One presentation running into another over a period of several hours is intellectually and emotionally exhausting.
- Try to encourage a sense that there is recreation involved too. Arrange for some break-out sessions where people can let off a bit of steam and do something else such as walking, table-tennis or whatever.
- Get people to travel to the conference together in a luxury coach. That can help build a sense of team spirit. Some luxury limo hire companies also have coaches and minibuses.
- Show you understand that attending a conference is likely to have a temporary but nevertheless negative impact on their normal work and perhaps result in some backlogs. Simply ignoring this is interpreted as being out of touch and insensitive.
- Be reasonable with travel times. Selecting a conference venue that is relatively close to your normal place of business may not be the most glamorous option but it might mean people avoid needing to get up in the middle of the night or make special family arrangements in order to get there.