Selecting a theme for your conference will set the tone for everything else, from speakers and entertainment to colors and decor. Here are few examples of themes used in events that I’ve helped plan that really made an impact:
Making a Splash – This theme was used for a conference we held at a venue that boasted an indoor water park. This theme also fell right in line with our efforts to ‘make a splash’ with a new product announcement. A facility with a water park can be a great location for a corporate conference; just be sure your event isn’t scheduled during school breaks, when attendance of families with children is at its highest.
Going Green – At this event, in addition to our regular education sessions, we incorporated sessions that presented strategies for saving money by going green in the workplace. We asked the venue to provide pitchers of water and reusable glasses during our refreshment breaks instead of plastic water bottles, and made sure our swag was made of all recycled materials. This was the first time in the history of this event where paper handouts weren’t provided for each session; they were made available online instead, which saved thousands of dollars in copying costs and allowed us to actually lower the registration fees.
Be Prepared – We concentrated on disaster preparedness at this conference, using a Boy Scout theme – our keynote speaker was an expert on disaster planning; one of the giveaway items was a sling pack perfect for hiking or backpacking. Entertainment included a team-building event where various readiness skills of the participants were put to the test.
Putting You in the Winner’s Circle – This theme was centered around setting and achieving goals, and included a bus trip to the local race track. One of the races was dedicated to our group and we were all able to go down to the winner’s circle for a picture with the winning horse and jockey.
Road to Excellence – This event had a car racing theme, and our decorations included lots of road signs scattered around the public areas and on the banquet tables at the ‘Speedway Dinner Buffet’, the ‘Autobahn Breakfast’, and ‘Grand Prix Dinner’. For entertainment we had a Monte Carlo casino night.
Passport to Success – This year’s conference will be held at a resort that is known for its international decor and menu, so we picked a travel theme; the agenda is fashioned after an actual passport (which, by the way, fits nicely into a standard name badge holder.) Attendees will earn stamps in their passport when they attend certain events or visit vendor booths; this makes them eligible for a prize drawing each day. We are also hosting an international food fest, where participants will have the opportunity to try delicacies from around the globe.
Pick a theme and have fun with it! Incorporate it into every aspect of your event, and give your participants an experience that they will never forget!