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Renting a conference room: how to anticipate and captivate your audience?

When a company holds a conference, it always does so with a very specific objective in mind: To inform its partners, instruct its employees, engage in debate to advance research and development, promote a new product, inspire participants to work together and facilitate collaboration, and so on. Whatever the goal, a minimum budget is requested, time is devoted to the organization and, logically, good returns on investment are expected. The key to a successful conference lies in its ability to captivate the audience, to arouse their interest and even to make them proactive during the event. From the layout of the space, to the content of the training, to the decoration and layout of the venue, every detail will have a decisive impact on the final results.

Who attends the conference: the key question

Of course, all the maneuvers designed to interest participants and leave an indelible trace of the experience in their brains depend directly on the specific characteristics of this audience. It's important to identify this audience before choosing a venue, and preparing the content to be presented on the day.

Offering everyone a minimum of living space

Before even studying your audience from a qualitative point of view, you need to start by simply and quantitatively analyzing it: how many people are expected to attend the event? Based on this essential criterion, we'll select a room that's more or less spacious, and provide enough comfortable space to set up and food/drinks for breaks.

Age, socio-professional category, status: different expectations

From young people coming for training to already experienced executives wishing to improve or update their knowledge, needs and requirements vary. So, when looking for a conference room to rent, it's important to bear in mind the dominant socio-professional category, average age and background of the participants. The more homogeneous the group, the bolder the choices you'll be able to make. Naturally, if you want to generate a surprise effect, you won't act in the same way with 25-35 year-olds as with 40-55 year-olds!

Give a coherent image of the organizer

Contrary to all expectations, the choice of conference venue doesn't depend on audience criteria alone. Indeed, the identity of the organizer (brand, company) also needs to be put into perspective with the nature of the venue. In concrete terms, the layout, decoration, architecture and layout of the areas set the tone. When you want to promote an innovative image for your organization, avoid settling for a classic hall with no personality, no cachet and no originality!

The multiplicity and adaptability of equipment: essential challenges for a successful conference

Whether it takes place over a few hours or several successive days, a conference will inevitably rely on several different media. Even in the presence of an excellent speaker, there's always a need for visual data to complement the speech, illustrate what's being said, or facilitate processes such as comprehension or memorization.

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Video projector, interactive whiteboard, flipchart: bringing your message to life

At a conference, it's often assumed that the entire audience arrives with roughly the same level of knowledge. For the sake of consistency, well-organized events do indeed target people with similar skills, to avoid some getting bored and others understanding absolutely nothing. However, there may be some more technical terms that a few people don't understand. In this case, rather than spend time explaining them, you can simply continue your speech, and display the definition on a slideshow. This is one possible use, but there are many others: showing statistics, reading a video or pages on the web, and so on. More modern, the interactive whiteboard can also be a real plus, offering a more dynamic approach to the content presented on the screen. And this doesn't mean you can't use the timeless and ever-relevant "flipchart" for other purposes. In short, before renting a conference room, you need to make sure that all the material you may need is available, the ideal being to use a wide variety of media so as not to bore participants.

Tables, chairs, furniture: ergonomics first and foremost

At a time when issues such as CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) are taking on increasing importance, we can't afford to have a conference during which the attendees feel uncomfortable. So, when comparing the different venues available for hire, we start by looking at the quality of the furniture, and maintain high standards in this area. Ordinary plastic chairs won't do if the event is going to last: you'll need more ergonomic seating, to allow you to move around easily or rest your elbows and back, among other things. At the same time, it becomes necessary to anticipate what equipment participants will bring: will they simply bring pen and paper to take notes, or will they need their own computer? Depending on the circumstances, the tables will obviously need to offer sufficient space to settle in comfortably, and be adjustable to maintain a good position throughout the day.

Flexibility is essential

Many people feel that traditional conference facilities lack flexibility. They are content with classic furniture and, even if comfort and ergonomics are important, they don't really open the door to more daring layouts.. However, at a time when professionals quickly tire of a systematically similar training or meeting environment, it's time to surprise them with the possibility of transforming the conference room into a debating space, for example. If traditional premises don't always offer this freedom, the more atypical versions found on Office Riders can sometimes do just that, as they are not initially dedicated to conferences, and can be arranged to suit individual needs!

Welcoming breakout areas to get the best out of participants

Ideal for creating social ties but also for resting minds and making them more efficient, break times are crucial to any conference. In an atypical setting, they also provide an opportunity to explore green spaces, stroll through a room decorated with works of art, or simply get some fresh air on a balcony with a lovely view of the city. We underestimate the importance of these small pleasures, perfect for replenishing energy and enthusiasm at the same time. In addition, when selecting the conference venue, make sure that the location makes it easy to have meals on site, if participants are required to attend in the morning and afternoon. Ideally, we propose to take charge of this meal and share it all together in a pleasant room. But it's also possible to set up in a lively neighborhood, so that lunch can be taken in a nearby restaurant.

Taking care of the additions that can change everything, while keeping your budget under control

The art of organizing a conference rests on a particular skill: knowing how to make the right choices among all the options that will delight the audience, while managing to stay well within a predetermined budget. To meet this challenge, it's essential to draw up a complete set of specifications before embarking on the project, because this type of event requires, above all, maximum anticipation.

The unusual venue that will change everything

To guarantee the success of a conference, there are three key factors to consider:

  • Speakers (popularity, credibility)
  • The topics covered
  • The venue When it comes to the latter, it's quite possible to win over more people by proposing an original venue that's easy to get to, arouses curiosity and provides sufficient motivation to attend. When the event takes place in an unusual setting, even if the themes remain classic, the target audience is more likely to be interested, as they will associate the meeting with something unusual and unexpected, and will want to find out more. Betting on an atypical venue does not necessarily cost more, especially when you go through collaborative platforms like Office Riders, creating a link between organizers and people looking to use venues they own.

Little extras to boost a conference

Whether it's an art venue, a chic Parisian apartment or the top of a tall building with an exceptional panorama, there's every chance of making potential listeners want to come to the conference. But for a conference to really make an impression and meet specific objectives (motivating teams, getting the maximum amount of information memorized, giving a good impression of your company, etc.), a few small touches can make all the difference. For example, during the coffee break, background music (with sounds chosen according to the identity of the organizer and the target audience) can be surprising in a good way. Similarly, the simple act of offering a welcome breakfast will put everyone in a good mood and make it easier to build confidence. You can also think about offering goodies to participants, without ever forgetting that all these initiatives must remain within the initial budget!