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10 Unconventional Conference Ideas

Conferences offer a brilliant face-to-face opportunity to challenge, debate and discuss ideas. Here’s how to completely do away with one-way communication and instead facilitate authentic experiences by keeping conference delegates engaged and inspired.

  1. Break the thinking around conventional set-ups of conference rooms. Use the circular shape of our Assembly Hall for a conference and opt instead for a layout with a stage in the centre of the room. Add LED screens to the cubed rig of the stage or use curved screens at the edges of the room.  
  2. Live streaming. With the help of our in-house AV team live streaming will allow you to reach your audience in real time, crucial for connecting with those who are unable to attend. Don’t underestimate the power of social – invite delegates who are attending the event to use Twitter-owned Periscope or Facebook Live further amplifying the event. Provide a swag bag with headphones and mobile chargers to encourage active participation in the sessions,
  3. Dynamic projection mapping. Often used for brand storytelling but can be expensive. The domed ceiling of our Assembly Hall is the perfect place for projection. By adding extra dimensions and optical illusions onto the irregular shape of the domed ceiling, it becomes an interactive 3D display and the display can be further enhanced by adding sound to create an audio-visual narrative.
  4. Live video walls. Incorporate user-generated social media content throughout the conference. Use customised filters for Snapchat and other social media channels. Don’t stop at social, cut down on the deluge of conference papers and use these walls to provide visual notes during presentations, which can be downloaded to mobile phones.
  5. Hands-on workshops utilising the power of VR or augmented reality. Offer an opportunity to pre-book these sessions which combine the human and tech connection. These breakouts can be entertaining and interactive. The key to these smaller sessions is to turn the spotlight on attendees.
  6. Challenge the emotional intelligence of your conference by creating a wellness zone for mindfulness, massages and meditation. Provide healthy snacks and brain-friendly food throughout the day and personalise it by hosting a "create your own smoothie" breakfast bar.
  7. Engage in play. Design event networking games for individuals or groups to keep attendees moving. Consider using wearable event technology, smart badges and event apps to help event attendees to generate meaningful connections. 
  8. The power of surprise. Say no to boring lunch buffets and host a lunch with pop-up stalls offering a range of street food. Our catering partner, CH&CO, has created food stations with a 'Best of British' theme, complete with a festival themed Gin Bar, bursting with flavours and inspiration for networking whilst lunching or enjoying a post-conference reception.
  9. Harness the history and culture of the local area. Offer opportunities to volunteer locally, involve local guides and translators and provide a unique tour of a local landmark. With our proximity to Westminster Abbey and the Houses of Parliament a guided tour of these famous landmarks will provide a memorable and much talked-about addition to the conference.
  10. Use interactive presentations such as Slido, Glisser, Hypersay and Poll Everywhere for live questions and answers. Engage attendees by building custom interactive apps, loaded on to a multi-use giant iTab, making it easy for conference delegates to ask instant questions, post feedback and interact in online conference forums alongside those unable to attend physically. 

Church House Westminster offers a dedicated in-house team of audio-visual technicians producing live streaming and other interactive solutions for over 800 events a year. The venue's chosen charity, the British Heart Foundation, can provide wellness seminars and stress management sessions by prior arrangement with the venue's event coordinators. The event coordinators can also arrange tours of Westminster Abbey, which is located in Dean's Yard. The catering partner of the venue, CH&CO, creates bespoke menus for wellbeing lunches, paying particular attention to vegan friendly options. 

Contact an event coordinator to find out more about conferences at Church House Westminster.  

  

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