Conferences & UnConferences
“I’m feeling a Before Conference and After
Conference world building here.”
We know the stakes are high
Meeting face-to-face remains the best way for people to connect and collaborate. That’s why conferences never go out of date. What people expect from the experience is definitely shifting though.
Bringing a large group together, often from all corners of the business, country, or world, is a huge investment. The potential cost of it not working well, even higher. To avoid the pitfalls of traditional conferences, the marginal cost of adding a professional facilitator is, we feel, a no-brainer.
Typically, in business conferences when >20 people get together, the focus is on finding inspirational speakers to motivate people by sharing their stories. Whilst powerful stories can spark interest in people, listening is too passive to create any sustainable changes in behaviour and, therefore, any sustainable impact in an organisation.
Large group interventions are methods of involving the whole systems in complex business challenges. The power of a large groups lies not only in scale, but also in the ability to bring together diverse perspectives, which enables systemic work on complex organisational issues.
Features of large group interventions include:
- They are part of a journey. They are not just isolated events, but part of an overall process, with work leading into and out of them.
- The collaboration starts before the event. How the event is designed and prepared for is part of the intervention – preparing the ground by engaging people appropriately.
- They focus on real work & learning from the work. The design is aimed at harnessing the wisdom of the group to do work that no one individual could do. The nature of working this way means everyone in the system participates, contributes and learns.
A deeper insight
So what is the difference and value a facilitator adds? It’s not dry ice and a natty MC patter (although we can do that too). Nor is it just timekeeping and crowd control (although we can do that too). Designing for and guiding large groups of people to enable meaningful conversations and good collaborative work involves a particular set of skills.
It’s a combination of clarifying the purpose, understanding how people connect and applying appropriate methods to achieve an engaging human experience and more impactful outcomes.
Whether it’s using an existing approach like Open Space Technology, World Cafés, Geek Speed Sessions, Future Searches or designing something entirely tailored, we are equipped to do what’s needed to make sure you get what you want from your event.
Meet our Team
Sarah’s strengths are communication — engaging people in supportive and dynamic ways to help them think differently, explore ideas and invest in moving forward. She understands the art of motivating individuals and teams, having worked with groups from the Financial Times, Linklaters, AON, and many other large enterprises.
Michael Dick is a senior business, marketing, brand and communications professional with broad experience in driving strategy and change initiatives. His passion is helping teams connect with each other and with key stakeholders, agencies and consumers, and helping management and implementation teams start and maintain strategic and system-wide change conversations.