How To Create A Sticky Conference

Gooey Flour Paste Hands September 11, 20101

Just how sticky is your conference?

Sticky conferences create experiences that last beyond the two to three days of the conference. They focus on creating real relationships with strong connections. It’s about more than speed networking where people just exchange business cards or speed sessions to see how much info people can cram into their brains.

Sticky conferences focus on interactivity of participants. The more interactive participants are; the more engaged they are. The more engaged they are; the more committed they are. The more committed they are; the more empowered they are.

George Mason University Professor Todd Kashdan, author of Curious, shares more about the importance of curiosity, the unexpected and active interactive experiences to create a sticky conference.

Here’s a rundown of his video if you want to fast forward to a specific area.
00:16 – Fostering Connections At Conferences
01:40 – Plan Interactive Experiences Not Passive
03:11 – Creating Disruptions To Keep Attention
04:20 – Creating A Better Signal To Noise Ratio (Too much info at conferences. How do we get good info that is useful?)
05:08 – For More Information On Curiosity & Sticky Conferences

Video edited from PCMA’s Convening Leaders 2012 Learning Lounge Live Chat Room video clip.

What are some specific things you can do to create more sticky conference experiences? How can conference organizers foster an attitude of curiosity from attendees?

Print Friendly, PDF & Email
  1. […] Jeff Hurt asks, how sticky is your conference? In response, he shares a great video which explains how to create a unique and interactive […]

  2. One consideration is to design interaction that serves both the extroverts and the introverts – those who like to dive rapidly into active participation and those who like to ponder a bit, participate in a smaller group ( 6 or less or buddy-ups, for example) that then share with a larger group….. per Susan Cain’s book Quiet…..

    Another idea is to adopt IDEO’s techniques and support small groups in prototyping something… they have brief 40 minute-type sessions as well as multi-day ones…. in other words, adapt interaction ideas from other places than conferences

  3. Kerry S says:

    Great information!! I took notes! But yikes, very very distracting video production. Webcam MUST be on the same plane as your eyes, not looking up the nose! That means putting the laptop on a box, or using a small tripod with iPhone mounted in a Snapmount case or similar to get it at the right level. Looking at the lens is important too so there is “eye contact” with the viewer. Being in focus would be great too. With great quality information like that, the quality of the video needs to match. There is no reason for cheesy video any more!

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      ‘@Kare, thanks for sharing the additional ideas. Good stuff.

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I see the video production differently than you. Most people are very comfortable with unprofessional video these days…just take a lookk at YouTube and AFV every Sunday night. If you noticed at the very beginning of the video, it says it’s from Skype on his iPhone. As a matter of fact, research shows that the more professional the video, the more people think it is spin. People see unprofessional video as authentic…and as Todd says, the unexpected makes your brain pay more attention.

  4. KShearer says:

    Hi Jeff, I understand what you’re saying. I just think it’s possible be totally authentic and real and have minimalist production values while at the same time looking decent on camera and minimizing distractions. Being authentic doesn’t mean being sloppy with the basics. To me, as a viewer and recipient of the information, it is distracting to be looking up his nose, feel he’s avoiding me due to lack of direct eye contact with the camera, and being out of focus. It gets in the way. All easily correctable, and all things that I feel would reinforce his credibility as a communications expert. Anyway, thanks for your blog; lots of great information!

    1. Jeff Hurt says:

      I agree with you that in ideal situations these are all the criteria we want. Sometimes it just doesn’t happen that way. I’m one that believes we often let the polish get in the way of our learning. We don’t listen to what is being said underneath. I encourage people that have problems with this video and are distracted by it to close their eyes and listen to what he has to say. Don’t miss the ahas by being caught up in the inferior quality.

  5. John Bailey says:

    Another way to keep attendees engaged before, during, and after the event is to stream useful information – pics, powerpoints / presentations, videos etc from the event.

  6. Bob MacKie says:

    Fostering a quick sticky connection at a conference is better than no connection; however relationships like glue take time to cure. Longer term relationships can form strong bonds as relationships acquire trust over time. That is hard to do at a two or three day conference unless you extend the conference online before and after the hectic face to face conference days.
    We make software for online communities for associations. There is huge interest in having smart phone access to the community during the conference that allows community members, presenters and exhibitors to connect at a conference and then continue the conversation afterwards in a safe collegial environment. It is also easy to collect documents, make a personal schedule and see what’s hot at the conference based on real time metrics. But the most important aspect is that sticky connections have time to cure and bond within the community.

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *