You snooze, you lose?

Emily King discusses ‘conference fatigue’ and taps in to some advice on how to fight it

With organisers well into the first quarter and digesting many of the new trend predictions for the events industry for 2016 and beyond, they will be keen to tap into invigorating insights to boost the meetings and events, the success or failure of which will shape the rest of the year.

All pick-me-up event tips are most welcome coming off the back of the most depressing day of the year, ‘Blue Monday’ – the third Monday of January.

This mix of New Year blues and long days at unreconstructed conferences could be an unhealthy dual threat for delegates.

Dr Emily Henderson, assistant professor at the University of Warwick’s Centre for Education Studies, has identified ‘conference fatigue’ as: “the feeling of discontent and weariness that comes from visiting too many conferences and from attending too many presentations during the same event”.

Dr Henderson believes there is a risk of a vicious cycle as many have the idea instilled that conferences will be boring and embarrassing, and that is how they actually go on to experience them.

So, how can conference organisers prevent conference fatigue from affecting their 2016 conferences?

Jackie Mulligan, principal lecturer and director of enterprise for the UK Centre of Events Management, says: “Good options are changing venues for sessions – applied at the MIA Stop and Think conference; getting some fresh air, encouraging movement in sessions and between sessions, ensuring delegates are well hydrated and have healthier food options to help keep them alert, all of which we can do in the CMP Boot Camps.

“Organisers should also provide some white space or guilt-free down time for delegates to reflect and take time out from the packed agendas to consider what they have been learning or to simply catch their breath. There is no doubt that conferences should offer value but maybe the focus should be quality rather than quantity and more tailoring and personalising of the experience.”

Emily King

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Emily King

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