Conference without a Venue

#eventprofs

Faced with the challenge to do things differently, this is a conference with no venue.

500 delegates in 5 locations around their head office building - in meeting rooms, the canteen and reception. Each location with one or two huge Plasma screens, a simple backdrop and a camera, all connected to a control room.

The delegates arrived to discover a flatpacked, branded cardboard box for them to construct. The box had a coloured sticker with their name on it. At 10.00am precisely, cheerleaders passed through the offices collecting anyone with their coloured sticker - "...follow me the red team, this way, bring your box with you!!...". And so, by 10.10am all 500 people were snaking their way through the building, collecting a longer chain of people as they passed each new department, all carrying their boxes in front of them. Each of the 5 colours took a different route, passing each other on stairways and corridors. Each ended at a different one of the 5 locations.

So by 10.30 we were ready to start and Nick, the Marketing Director and host welcomed everyone from the first location - everyone could see him live on the Plasmas in the other locations. He introduced all the locations to each other, with a cheer, in true outside broadcast style.

He then proceeded to run a Q&A, questioning the other Directors live in other locations. He would ask the question and as they started to answer he would run to meet up with them in their location. Once we was by their side he would ask a follow up question.

All of the questions came from audience research in the week prior to the event - some were serious, about business performance and strategy, others were about more trivial matters.

In between the questions a series of videos were shown, each one created by a department in the audience in the weeks before the event - each of the 11 departments were give a professional camera crew for 3 hours and a professional editor for the day - they had to make their own video, featuring the company, with duration not more than 3 minutes.

And so there were lots of laughs with bits of Keystone Kops, Britain's Got Talent, Glee and more to entertain everyone.

After a couple of hours of questions, answers and fun videos it was all over and everyone went home - with a sandwich lunch and half a day off.

The feedback was excellent - it was something very different, the videos worked perfectly (and the buzz during the build up to the event was fantastic because no one was allowed to see any of the finished videos in advance), the host was the key role and we were lucky enough to have someone really talented to manage the live presenting - no easy task.

It was definitely something we would do again.

 

Alan Wight