Sit from 9 am to noon?
The standard event schedule is a thing of the past. Attendees are no longer willing to sit still and behave like third graders. Attendees want to control their own schedule. Because of flex schedules, at home workers, and independent contractors most people are now accustomed to exercising some say over their daily activity. Plus with the distractions of technology, you won’t find that the attendees at your event are willing to sit and listen for long.
No more hour-long sessions.
The standard, classroom information session lasted for 50 minutes. Today, attendees only want to sit and listen for ten minutes — at most. Then, they want to move on. Or interact with speakers and other attendees in a one-on-one format. As the event planner, you have to assume that people will be more receptive when they are able to freely wander from space to space, listening to the speakers that interest them the most.
The evaluation is ongoing.
At your typical event, attendees filled out an evaluation form as they left the venue. Today, with the advancement in technology, attendees and speakers expect ongoing feedback about who is attending and what information is most valuable. Feedback stations and email surveys should pervade your event, allowing everyone to provide ongoing feedback as the event is happening.
Coffee and snacks all day, please!
The modern attendee doesn’t want a big lunch at noon. Frankly, an hour for lunch is a waste of precious time. In addition, events typically lose people at noon when there is nothing to do but eat. Of course, a big lunch can be a great option, but it should just be an option. Just like the rest of the day, give attendees the chance to use that lunch hour to go to just as many information sessions as the rest of the day. Lunch is just one more option. And always provide healthy snacks, like granola, yogurt, and fruit, throughout the entire day.