1. Provide access to big, relevant brains. It doesn’t matter if they’re the keynote speakers, session leaders, or other attendees, invite people who understand where participants are coming from—and where they can go.
2. Give your attendees direct access to those brains.
3. Provide content that will wake up and shake up attendees. Take them out of their comfort zones and into the realm of possibility.
4. Show, don’t tell. Better yet, skip the PowerPoint and let attendees take an idea for a test drive.
5. Surprise and delight attendees. Make it fun, make it interactive. Toys are cool, too.
6. Ignite their passion and touch their emotions. But not just for the heck of it. Emotion-evoking speakers need to be able to tie their message to what the audience does for a living.
7. Provide opportunities for meaningful conversations, not just business-card exchanges.
8. Provide takeaways and tangible tips, and follow up to see how people are using what they learned.
9. Blow something up, whether it’s the usual lecture format or a leading misconception.
10. Content may be king, but presentation counts: Don’t make people sit in the dark, peering at too-small graphics on a big screen. Make sure you presenters never, ever read from their PowerPoints.
11. Mix up the formats of the session, offering a variety of presentations, whether lecture, panel, roundtable, etc.
12. Put a great deal of thought into the time limits for each session. Match the content to the design.
13. Ask your audience what they want ahead of time (but not too far ahead of time). Then deliver on your promises.
14. Know your audience. Trust your audience. Treat your audience with respect.
15. Meet people where they live, then show them how they can discover the knowledge and tools they need to spruce up the neighborhood.