Adopting a New Approach to Conferences

With a New Year comes the perfect opportunity to reinvent. January is the perfect time to weigh up the good and the bad and decide what you’ll carry forward. An opportunity to experiment and try something new.

Whether you organise an annual conference or occasional networking event, considering a new approach will keep your audience engaged.


When in the early stages of planning a conference, it’s key to consider the following two things:

  • What is your ambition for the event
  • What do you wish for your audience to learn and takeaway

The latter is particularly important as your success relies on the engagement and energy of your guests. By considering what they want and aligning it with your business interests, you can deliver an outstanding experience.

Jessica Bryndza, Eventbrite’s VP Brand Strategy and Activation, said “People attend conferences to learn something, make connections, and return home feeling better than they did when they arrived...look beyond the demographics to better understand how your conference can fulfil their needs and desires.”

Switch up your Space

Cramming a large number of people into a small venue for a talk will only hinder their experience. If your guests spend the majority of your presentation thinking about how uncomfortable they are, your words will simply fall on deaf ears. By choosing an adaptable venue with expandable conference rooms, movable furniture, breakout rooms and outdoor space, you can switch up the environment and enhance everyone’s experience.

Create an event that incorporates all the senses. By leaving the conference room your delegates can enjoy the sun on their skin, take a walk in the fresh air, the sound of rustling leaves. A myriad of senses will stop possible tiredness, ensuring your messages have clarity and absorption.

At Pinewood, our outdoor space is perfect for team building, talks, and a respite from the closed four walls, presentations screens and air conditioning.

Plus, by expanding your venue to the outdoors, you can free up indoor space for play, interactivity, and dining experiences. Play is a great way to encourage self-exploration, develop important questions, and interact with other delegates.

Being industry professionals, they’ll crave the opportunity to network, experiment with new products, or simply relax with their colleagues.


Goody bags full of poorly printed materials on cheap paper will no longer make the cut. Concerning guests and usually a sign of trouble to come, goody bags are an overlooked element of any conference.

In truth, this is where you want to impress. Make it fun, informative, and a present with true worth and function.

  • Opt for personalised packets, a handwritten note with the guest's name on top.
  • Feature key information that can be used after the conference ends. Give your guests a reason to keep the materials you've invested money in.
  • Source good quality materials with simple designs that appeal to a wide range of people.
  • Make the switch to eco-friendly materials that can be recycled once the customer has had their fill.

When assembling your packages remember, trends aren’t your friends. Memes, fidget spinners, and fashion trends are constantly shifting in and out of relevance. Don't compromise your brand for the sake of a cheap trend. Filling goody bags with branded fidget spinners or other 'trendy' handhelds could negatively impact your guest’s perception of your brand.

You can maintain customer confidence by keeping it professional and close to your established brand.

Not a TEDTalk

How can you switch up the traditional presentation format? By taking into account what your audience want to learn, of course. How to do this:

  • Before your presentation begins, ask the audience to write down their top 3 questions.
  • As you talk, have them tick off each question as it’s answered.
  • Then, when your talk comes to a close, have your guests submit any unanswered questions online where other guests can upvote the most burning.
  • Use your final 10 minutes on stage to answer the top 3 questions as voted for by the audience.

With free WIFI for all guests, everyone will leave your talk feeling satisfied, having learned exactly what they wanted to. Should anyone wish to pick your brains further, our team will be on-hand to carve out a special place for your 1 to 1 conversation.

Choose Pinewood

Looking for the best place to host your conference? We’re in the perfect location! With a close proximity to Manchester Airport, Handforth rail station, and access to the M6, M56 and M60.
At Pinewood, we have a selection of meeting rooms, a wide range of service, no hidden fees, and a team on hand ready to help make your conference a success. To find out more about the services we provide, visit our meetings & conferences page.

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