In-house Conference design

We help develop & deliver high impact in-house conferences

A carefully considered and constructed in-house conference is probably the single most powerful means of achieving behavioural change, of “winning (and changing) hearts and minds”, or of kick-starting a culture change programme.

Conversely, a poorly designed conference can be counter-productive: it can damage top managements’ credibility and reduce morale and commitment.

Objectives of a conference:

Conferences mostly have the following generic objectives:

  • To modify the thinking of a group of employees with disparate starting-points – age, seniority, responsibility, experience, cultural and personal character – and bring them closer to a common, shared mindset, moreover the mindset defined and desired by top management
  • To modify their behaviour as a consequence.

This may be part of a broader culture change or internal communication programme, or a stand-alone event.

Conference planning often focuses primarily on physical arrangements whilst inadequate attention is given to the content, shape, structure and delivery of the event. This radically reduces the impact of the conference.*

 *Some in-house conferences are little more than an annual get-together, and top management has no agenda other than to thank delegates for their efforts and ask for “the same again” next year. In this case, the design of the content and structure of the conference is even less likely to be regarded as critical.

Overview of our service:

We work with top management to design and deliver a high impact in-house conference that will make a real difference to the business – that:

  • Has precise, well-defined, achievable objectives
  • Is designed with a 100% focus on achieving these objectives
  • Builds employees’ confidence and trust in, and the credibility of top management
  • Sends delegates home:
  • more motivated than when they arrived,
  • with greater ownership of and commitment to the company
  • clear on what will happen and what is expected of them

Note: in our terminology, “in-house conference design” does not mean booking the venue and arranging the sandwiches!

Our Approach

We follow a rigorous analytical approach to conference preparation, ensuring:

  • Senior management is clear and unified on any cultural and behavioural changes desired as a result of the conference – and so on the key messages to be conveyed
  • These objectives are realistic and achievable
  • The starting-point (“where we are now”) is clearly understood:
  • Current attitudes, preconceptions, concerns, mindsets in the different parts of the organisation
  • Current behavioural patterns
  • Arguments and messages that have “been heard many times before” (so will lack credibility)
  • The main sources of inertia and likely resistance to change – and in particular, any potential unpleasant or confrontational situations are identified in advance
  • The conference is optimally structured to achieve these outcomes, and
  • Tactics are prepared to deal with potential blockages and resistance
  • There is an overall ‘storyboard’, that is credible, coherent, understandable and internally reinforcing
  • Key speeches are partially scripted (presentations should be delivered in presenters’ own words, nevertheless adherents to sequence within key speeches can be critical)
  • Speakers are tutored, especially more junior ones and/or those delivering difficult or negative messages
  • Speakers, especially top management, are prepared to handle difficult or confrontational issues should they emerge
  • Follow-through is planned, implemented and monitored
  • It the conference is part of a programme of internal communication, it is planned to dovetail

Internal Communication