A question that I often hear from clients and associations usually start with, “I was thinking about this topic however I am not sure of our direction. What do you think?”
I usually respond with 3 questions, (1) how many people will be in attendance; (2) what are your goals for the event and (3) what takeaways or tools do you want the team to leave the event with? After a detailed client discussion to gain further information about their hopes for the program, I then focus on the 3 main elements of size, goals and takeaways. These elements will affect my approach and content direction for the session. If it is a smaller group and the goal is to be super interactive resulting in best practices takeaways, I will create multiple activities with specific questions to generate discussion along with debriefing time so all can benefit from the vast knowledge in the room. As a seasoned facilitator, I lead the attendees effectively through the discussion resulting in tangible plans and strategies.
Or if it is a large gathering focused on a specific topic like mental health to broaden awareness - My approach would continue to be engaging to create interest with the “audience-at-large” interactive questions to share thoughts that can benefit all. I will also customize content and stories to exceed the expectations and the goal of the event. Whether it is to focus on certain topics such as self care or add in new research to emphasize the importance of certain steps or strategies.
So when you are planning a conference or thinking about an educational event - consider how many people will be there and what are your ultimate goals so I can hit it out of the park!