The final hours of most events, and more specifically as a conference nears its end, we generally expect to see the energy calm down a bit. Attendees start their exodus to catch early flights or off site meetings. People start shifting their mindset to get back into the swing of their everyday lives and forward looking to-dos. The final day of C2 Montréal however, was a zoo.
People were still pumped and the excitement in the air had ceased to decline. Why? How did C2's 2017 show keep conference goers refreshed and ready even up until the final remarks? With a carefully crafted, experientially diverse, show floor flow.
C2 Montréal's 3-Dimensional Flow
The layout of the C2 show floor basically consisted of three distinct worlds, any of which could have been individually chalked up to providing for a great event. When weaved smartly together as was the case at C2, the variety of ways to experience show content is why attendee energy never hit a brick wall. Let's move through how these different spaces kept things fresh for us attendees.
1. The attendee is responsible for creating the content
The first space to experience at C2 felt very organic, outdoorsy, and plain and simple, comfortably conducive to everyday life. This is where attendees would meet up to network, exchange info and ideas, and where the "brain dates" took place.
This more casual atmosphere provided a safe space for stimulating conversations. The content found here, was created by the attendees. Pure face-to-face interactions and honest engagement.
2. The attendee is a participant within the content
The second space felt more like a collision between worlds—a futuristic hanger with a "get where you're going" emphasis and a mood of anxiety. But not in a bad way. Good anxiety. A heightened sense of awareness, if that makes sense.
Within this area though, were experiences to participate in. The environments and activations here were very much designed for hands-on learning and active involvement. Here, attendees became part of the show.
3. The attendee simply consumes the content
Lastly, we have the space where the content was delivered—the structured sessions and speakers. This space, was very much dedicated to consumption, and while still being a place to discover great content and learn, provided a more relaxing mental experience.
Here, aside from sitting back to absorb lessons delivered from stages and screens, attendees could also step out and grab a drink, some good food, or relax in the breeze by the boat.
What can we learn from the C2 Montréal triple threat of experiential space?
When designing a conference show flow in consideration of the attendee journey, our approach must be multi-faceted. A simple "breakfast, general session, lunch, break out room, general session" standard experience just won't continue to cut it. Attendees will get much more out of a show where they can choose their own adventure, one that matches their mood and how they desire to experience the event. In bullet form, here's the impactful lessons.
- Allow for people to personalize their conference experience
- Design a distinct mix of spaces, each of which provide unique ways to consume content
- Analyze how your space and your experiences will take attendees on an emotional rollercoaster (when it comes to your event, rollercoasters=good, lazy river=bad)
If you take those recommendations, your event, like C2 Montréal, will have attendees chanting "one more song" when the curtain finally closes.
Oh, and the icing on the cake? Literally, a cake.
Throughout the conference, if you chose to partake, everybody had the opportunity to co bake a cake. Not a metaphorical cake. An actual cake, that everyone ate at the conference closing. This exercise in collective creativity was a refreshing and fun way to literally bring all event attendees into the "mix" and serve up a bit of everyone's uniqueness and expressive flare.
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