Last week I was lucky enough to be invited to attend a conference for one of our partner retailers and it was a great experience. I have talked about this before but i genuinely think there is a lot we can learn from going to each others conferences and seeing how others do it – and this proved the point to me.

700 people in one room for a quarterly conference is impressive and something my budget wouldn’t stretch to, but what were the key things I learnt?

  • Don’t underestimate the power of good speakers – they made the conference what it was
  • Sometimes a great idea doesn’t translate well in practice. Talking on a sofa like it’s a nice friendly chat can disengage the audience
  • Telling the audience that “by the end of the day I want you to leave with this thought” is not a bad thing

And what ideas am I going to steal with pride? Here are just a few you might want to as well:

  • The Head of the Division mentioned 10 new managers, 4 new regional managers etc. and asked them to stand up for everyone to applaud and welcome them
  • In house TV channels are becoming more common and something i should look into
  • Simple games are effective – heads or tails until you get a winner, quick and entertaining
  • Recognise even the smallest thing
  • The delegate pack was very well done with highlights of what to cascade on the front and when
  • The big idea for engaging people in the Olympics was simple and effective
  • The product sampling – putting what you sell at the core of the conference

It was such an insight and something I would love to do more because I genuinely left with this list of things to use at my future internal conferences. I am so grateful to have been able to attend and hope one day we can extend invitations to our peers – not because we think ours is the best, but because there is always something to learn.