The Beyond the Meeting Map will guide you to think beyond the physical meeting when designing a workshop or conference experience. Instead of only focusing on the physical meeting time, the template maps out the whole year as the timeframe to analyse and rethink your activities and channels, and design an experience beyond your event.
Download the template and go through the following questions and suggestions to brainstorm new channels and activities that go beyond the meeting. You can create multiple offers, possibility for interaction and content on several channels that match the experience you want to create. If you don’t know where to start, try out the following questions about your participants/clients and channels & activities:
Participants / Clients
- Observe what your participants are doing, which channels they are using and what you can learn about their needs and motivations. Ask yourself how you could apply this to create an experience beyond the event.
- Listen to your clients: What do they struggle with when the workshops is over? What questions do they ask? How can you support them beyond the workshop?
Channels & Activities
- Think about the channels you are actively using on during a physical event and add them into the template (maybe website, social media etc.) and continue to brainstorm ideas how you could be use those channels more actively throughout the year? (e.g. sharing thoughts and ideas about your event on Medium)
(e.g. the newsletter you are using to spread logistical information (selling tickets, how to get to the workshop etc.) could be an interesting channel to regularely share content created during the event).
- Note down the content you already have (videos from keynotes or interviews with speakers etc.) and think about how you can create additional value with this content.
- If you are looking for some inspiration for conferences, you might find these slides and the associated talk helpful.
Why is this relevant?
Today, information and knowledge are easily accessible online and your (potential) participants aren’t waiting until that next conference or workshop to discuss topics they care about. They want to start now because it’s relevant now. As a conference organizer or workshop facilitator this is something you simply can’t ignore or consider for a singular temporary event. If you want your gathering to be and stay relevant, you have to create a continuous experience beyond the conference or workshop. This means, providing relevant content and possibilities to interact and exchange on certain topics regardless of when your physical meeting takes place.
Example: SXSW (South by Southwest)
To make it less abstract, let’s take a look at a conference example: SXSW (South by Southwest) – a festival and conference at the intersection of art and technology. The (physical) event runs for ten days every year, but SXSW provides multiple channels, such as a magazine and a radio (SXSW fm) that publishes content on its main topics all year long: music, film and interactive media. Besides this, SXSW involves its participants in its program curation and planning using Panel Picker, a tool for suggesting and voting program ideas, formats or content. This creates an early exchange before the festival has even started. With activities and channels such as those listed above, SXSW is relevant for digital creatives all year long. Looking for inspiration on how to design experiences beyond the physically event? Check out the SXSW website, magazine and radio.