Conference trends in 2013 and what to expect for 2014

We can’t believe its December already, we’ve had a busy year at Silverstream Retreat. Hosting a large number of events from small meetings and intimate dinners to large conferences and award ceremonies. We thought this was a good time to reflect on the changes we have noticed in the events held at Silverstream Retreat in 2013.

Technology and social media has made an impact this year in terms of marketing strategies, developing online communities, tweeting and sharing photos. Instead of being told to turn off your mobile devices at conferences and events, people are being encouraged to leave them on (switched to silent or course).

Tablets are being used more often, not just by attendees connecting to social media but for event organises needing quick access to information.

Online event registration seems to be fairly standard, with most companies having registration forms on their websites, some with standalone websites just for the event.

We predict that in 2014 video conferencing is going to become more popular. With the availability of state-of-the-art programmes video conferencing means that people who can’t attend a meeting or conference can connect from different geological locations.

2014 is going to be an exciting year we already have a number of great events booked in. If you have any questions about conferences in the Wellington region or have anything to add to our 2013 trends, get in touch today.

Team building activities

Team building activities can be used at a conference or meeting for various reasons, including: Improving communication, boosting morale, motivation, ice breakers to help get to know each other better, learning effective strategies, improving productivity, learning about one’s strengths and weaknesses and many others.

Stereotype party

This is a fun exercise for a medium to large group. Write on name tags many different ‘personality types (see the list below), and pin or tape one tag to each person’s back. Don’t show people which tag is on their back – they’ll be able to see everyone else’s tag, but not their own. Now, ask each person to figure out which personality type is on his or her back by asking stereotype-based questions of other people – “Am I a man?” “Am I an athlete?” “Am I an entertainer?” and so on. Allow group members to answer only yes or no, and encourage participants to ask questions to as many different people as possible.

Here are some personality types you could consider:

  • Auto mechanic.
  • Olympic medallist.
  • Professor.
  • Fast-food restaurant worker.
  • Postal worker.
  • Movie star.

Paper tearing game

Participants each get a sheet of A4 paper and have to close their eyes during the exercise. As the instructor you have to participate along and pause after each instruction to give everyone a chance to complete the action. Here are the basic directions – Fold your sheet of paper in half, tear off the upper right-hand corner, fold it in half again and tear off the upper left hand corner of the sheet, fold it in half again and tear off the lower right-hand corner of the sheet. Now everyone can open their eyes and observe the differences. This exercise is a great way to challenge basic assumptions, encourage participation and create awareness of the importance of two-way communication.

A truth and a lie

Have each member introduce themselves by stating their name plus one truth about themselves and one lie. After each person makes their statements, allow for open conversation where everyone questions each other on their two statements. The idea is to convince the other members that your lie is actually a truth, while guessing the truths/lies of the others. After the questioning period, vote as a group on each member’s statements. Points are awarded for each lie guessed right or for stumping other members on your own lie. This exercise helps to get to know your co-workers better and encourages group interaction and communication.

The mine field

The idea behind this exercise is to improve team members trust, their relationship, and to communicate in a more effective way. You will need an open space such as an empty room or hallway in which you will distribute ‘mines’ that are placed haphazardly around the area. The ‘mines’ can be cones, balls, bottles etc. Team members are paired into teams of two. One team member will be blindfolded and the other can see and talk, but is not allowed to enter the field or touch their partner. The challenge is for the blind-folded person to walk from one side of the field to the other, avoiding the mines by listening to the verbal instructions of their partners.


Websites used as reference