Sonia Sansom, AIEA Committee Member from E2E Events offers advice on keeping annual conferences fresh and ensuring they feel different to past events.

When a client holds an event every year, it’s easy to keep things the same. But if many of their delegates are the same, they’ll notice that little has changed. It’ll make it harder to maintain their attention. And it gives the impression of a tired organisation that is failing to move forwards.

But what if your client is happy with how things work?

They still need to keep things fresh. A few tweaks here and there can make a vast difference. Here are five ways to shake things up without shaking yourself or your client into a lather:

1. Change the venue. Event organisers like AIEA members have extensive knowledge of venues across the UK, Europe and beyond so can help find somewhere the right size with the necessary facilities and, if required, values which complement those of your client. Plus, many of us, including me, offer a venue-finding service for free!

2. Go out for a session. Leave the venue and get people moving. Fresh air and a group activity can energise delegates, especially in that difficult slot after lunch.

3. Make it more interactive. Technology opens doors which didn’t exist a few years ago. A good event manager can put clients in touch with innovative suppliers who’ll help draw in delegates and involve them more.

4. Entertain people with the best acts. Balancing work with on-message entertainment helps clients vary the pace and keep people engaged. Blow people away with a magician, or demonstrate the importance of timing with acrobats or teamwork with musicians. Just make sure it’s a type of act they haven’t used before. And that they’re good.

5. Revamp the stage. If clients can’t avoid having the same faces in front of the same logo, it might seem hard to give presentations a new feel, but whizzy lighting effects can quickly liven up the visual impression at a surprisingly low price.

For more advice, give me a shout.