Attendees of exceptional conferences leave with their heads spinning with thought-provoking questions. “That’s it?” is not one of them.There’s nothing worse than an anticlimactic ending to an otherwise incredible event. Keep attendees ruminating on their experiences long after the event ends by using one of these five creative ways to conclude an event.
1. Time of Reflection
The human brain needs time to reflect on large amounts of newly acquired information. Dim the lights; cue the mellow music; and project reflective questions on the screen. Beautiful leather journals embossed with the conference logo are great swag gifts that double as tools for that time of reflection.
Fun is the perfect antidote to information overload. Take smaller crowds out for dinner or a round of sodas (or something harder). A Champagne or sparkling cider toast offers a sophisticated celebration for a larger group. Go big with a party in the ballroom or a rooftop patio. Get festive by releasing balloons from the ceiling or paper lanterns into the night sky. End with a bang with fireworks. Highlight videos are a fun way to conclude time together—bloopers included!
3. Story Time
Invite participants to share their "aha" moments from the event. Stories can be collected on the spot via an open or roving mic or through video, depending on the planner’s desire for control. Some planners handpick participants to prepare TED Talk-style presentations about their main takeaways. Others bring their main speakers back onstage in a casual lounge setting to share their learnings and action plan moving forward. You can also offer one last breakout session for participants to hone in on what they need to do first thing when they get home.
4. Call to Action
Challenge each person in attendance to write down one thing they’re going to do differently after their experience. Then have them add their contact information and exchange it with someone near them. Ask each person to commit to following up with their accountability partner in 30, 60 and 90 days to check in on their progress.
5. Compelling Commissioning
Beth Moore is the queen of the powerful send-off and has been since the inception of her Living Proof Ministries in 1994. Event coordinator Jenn Hamm says, “Beth invites each woman to rise to her feet, take the hands of a sister near her and repeat phrases of truth over one another. The experience is a personal charge for each woman to take home specific action points from the weekend. Picture a room full of women being sent forth like sharpened arrows back into their spheres of influence, ready to make a kingdom impact.”