Savvy planners know that what takes place before, after, and in-between conference sessions can be just as valuable for attendees as the content itself. Clever, unexpected activities can make the experience more interesting for guests—and keep them talking about it long after the program ends. Here’s a look at six inventive activity ideas from a variety of conferences.

<p> Relate is a new conference series from software company Zendesk that is focused on exploring relationships and customer service....

Relate is a new conference series from software company Zendesk that is focused on exploring relationships and customer service. To tie to that theme, organizers offered a thank-you note station at the May event in San Francisco. The company’s in-house creative team designed witty cards and invited attendees to personalize them with a hand-written note expressing their appreciation to their colleagues. More than 300 cards were stamped and then mailed by Zendesk staff, and attendees took home an additional 1,000 cards and envelopes.

Photo: Courtesy of Zendesk

<p> At C2 Montréal in May, attendees stepped inside the “Channel” experience, where they could grab one of the phone...

At C2 Montréal in May, attendees stepped inside the “Channel” experience, where they could grab one of the phone receivers and have a conversation with another guest in the room. Organizers say the activity was intended to explore what it takes “to truly hear and be heard in our modern, hyper-connected world.” After the conversation, participants moved into a debriefing space to discuss the connection between the experience and their work.

Photo: Agnieszka Stalkoper

<p> At Zendesk’s Relate conference, which took place in Sydney in July, the company created coloring books as a playful...

At Zendesk’s Relate conference, which took place in Sydney in July, the company created coloring books as a playful look at the complex relationships businesses and customers experience. Each illustration depicted two opposite forces—such as sun and moon, sea and space, etc.—along with a poem or joke that further explored those relationships. Attendees could color the books using colored pencils provided on tables around the event, and they also received a coloring book to take home in the conference gift bag.

Photo: Courtesy of Zendesk

<p> A picnic combines an alternative to traditional meal service with a networking activity. And when held indoors, a picnic...

A picnic combines an alternative to traditional meal service with a networking activity. And when held indoors, a picnic can take place year-round. Organizers of the TED Conference, which was held in Vancouver in February, provided blankets and baskets filled with food for six people and invited attendees to find others to share it inside the Vancouver Convention Centre.

Photo: Ryan Lash/TED

<p> With hundreds, or even thousands, of people in attendance at most conferences, it becomes an ideal opportunity to attempt...

With hundreds, or even thousands, of people in attendance at most conferences, it becomes an ideal opportunity to attempt to set a Guinness World Record title. The attempt creates buzz even if it fails. At the National Federation of the Blind’s 2015 conference in Orlando, 2,480 attendees participated in a successful Guinness World Record title attempt for the largest umbrella mosaic. The open umbrellas created the image of the organization’s logo and tagline, “Live the life you want.” The stunt was part of the association’s 75th anniversary celebration.

Photo: Courtesy of National Federation of the Blind

Source: BizBash