Ideas to help information retention at your next event
Director of Conference Focus, Max Turpin is sharing his insights on a range of topics with a regular column in BEN. Topics include new generation events and making events effective and valuable.
THE number one reason why most people attend events is to gain new information and ideas to help with their professional or personal lives. If the event runs over two days or more, attendees can be subject to information overload, which becomes detrimental to the absorption and retention of info. Here are a few ideas to stop that from happening and to help attendees retain as much info as possible...
Don’t cram your agenda. Whilst this is often tempting, it’s harmful.
Think, write, share. The idea of giving attendees time to think about the information distributed to them, write notes about what it means to them and to then quickly discuss it with others and share thoughts is an extremely positive concept as it helps with information retention – a fact backed up by the science of cognitive psychology. Also… Involve attendees. The benefits of involving your attendees rather than them being passive listeners is perhaps best highlighted by this quote from famous US psychiatrist and educationalist William Glasser: “We learn 10% of what we read, 20% of what we hear, 30% of what we see…but 70% of what is discussed and 80% of what we experience.” There you have it.
Provide regular breaks. Breaks provide time for your attendees to process, digest and reflect upon information. And it’s important to be generous with the time you allocate to breaks… most people will spend time checking their phones for messages and emails, will likely make a quick call or two and also visit the loo, so build in time for this into your breaks.
Inject some fun. People learn best and are more likely to remember teachings when they’re having fun. You could even play a trivia game on what was learned and discussed which will help attendees to recall information in a fun way.
Mix up the scheduling. Some sessions may be heavier and more serious than others and most people tend to work best in the morning. Therefore, schedule sessions with weighty material mid-morning rather than later in the day. Schedule fun and lighter sessions after lunch.
Last, but certainly not least, don’t take for granted that all your attendees are good learners and will be good delegates. At the start, set them expectations and encourage them along the way.