Think of conferences as supersized meetings. They often last more than one day and can vary in size, but usually they have more attendees than meetings. As with incentives, conferences can look very different depending on the organisers and the industry behind them.
Common activities at conferences include one, a mix, or all of the below:
Panels: A group of experts discusses a topic and presents new findings. A moderator asks questions, ensures good flow, and may take questions from the audience.
Presentations: At a company conference, senior leaders may present the latest successes or results of the business. At public industry conferences, thought leaders may be invited as guest speakers to share the newest trends and insights. Presentations often rely on props, slides, or other visual elements.
Speeches: Also known as keynotes, speeches often mark the beginning or end of a conference. Sometimes it’s the host or organiser welcoming or thanking attendees for joining. Other times an industry leader may address an important issue and share ideas for solutions.
Discussions: They can be part of a panel. In this case, a select group talks about a topic while the audience listens. Some organisers use breakout rooms to encourage active debate among small groups of attendees.
Workshops: A small group of participants works on a specific problem case or researches a certain topic. This approach is a great way to offer attendees an interactive learning experience.
The purpose of conferences varies, but usually, they’re meant to address and find solutions to challenges in a business or industry. Sharing new insights and research is a big part of that. So are networking and team-building activities.