Do you need some inspiration when planning a conference theme – and/or a list of topics that will make for a memorable event?
You’re not alone. Many people tasked with organising the annual company conference struggle to come up with suitable subjects and concepts.
Hence this list of the best conference themes and topics you can use to shape your next event around! Now that in-person conferences have returned and are in full swing, these are some ideas you can use to inspire your conference planning.
Whether it’s a small business, a government department, a large corporation, a not- for-profit organisation or a registered charity, here are 6 of the best conference themes and topics. Each is highly relevant to the world of work that we currently live in.
6 of the best conference themes and topics
1. Mental Health Matters
Inspired by the UK-based charity of the same name, Mental Health (matters) is a hot topic for meetings, events and conferences. So it’s one of the best themes for conferences that are being organised right about now. It has the potential to make employees feel that they’re valued, and that the company cares.
There are many strands you can pull together to form a holistic programme with a focus on mental wellbeing. Health and safety in the workplace, dealing with stress in an effective way, mindfulness being just a few examples.
If you’re going to embrace this theme, then it makes sense to ensure all your workplace practices are in line with the latest research and guidelines first. Practical, real-life tips that delegates can use either during downtime or working hours should be a sure-fire hit. As long as those at the top are paying these more than mere lip service.
2. Social Media Stars
Social media can be a fun one to use, as you can play around with hashtags or host competitions so attendees can win prizes. Again this is one of those conference theme ideas that can be approached in many ways.
You could hold a quiz about who’s said what on social media during the last week, month or year, and have a competition for the person whose post from the conference receives the most likes, shares or comments.
If some delegates could do with brushing up on their social media skills, you could offer some sort of tuition to make them more tech-savvy. Even if this is a brief session with a member of staff who’s more familiar with TikTok, Insta or Twitter than they are. Or a group brainstorming session.
When prepping the conference room for the event, you could also make it look something like an Insta feed, a Facebook page or a series of Pins (as per Pinterest). This could be one of the most funny sales meeting themes around – or one of the most visually pleasing!
See our post about how to banish boredom at a conference
3. Minorities Matter
Instead of focusing on Mental Health matters, how about theming your conference around a minority group? You could focus on a high-achieving woman in business, for instance, or a black man who has helped to change the world for the better. Or maybe a disabled or transgender star of the screen, politics, music or the stage, for example.
Addressing these issues sends a strong signal to employees that you, as an organisation, are committed to inclusion. Again you may need to take a close, honest look at your policies before deciding on this as a definite theme. As with all leadership conference themes, it pays to put your money where your mouth is.
Enthralling stories of those who’ve made it despite the odds – whether that is their gender identity, their ethnicity or their class background – can inspire all attendees. Whether they are white, middle class men or a disabled, mixed-race female.
4. All About Artificial Intelligence
With the recent success of apps and websites that use artificial intelligence – and indeed the popularity of devices like the Amazon Alexa or Google Nest in homes, AI is hot news. Whatever your views on this, it’s important to decide on your company’s stance on AI. And to relay this to employees.
This is a topic that would make for a great debate. You could split delegates into two or more groups, each arguing for or against AI as a whole. Or each could focus on a more specific use for AI, such as research, writing articles or automating tasks.
There’s scope for some fun guessing games here too. Who said it – an AI device or a human being? Who can find out a fact faster – or offer a more accurate report, definition of a word or profile of a famous person?
5. Home and Hybrid Working
Hybrid working and working from home have been big news since the Covid-19 pandemic swept the planet. If your staff work from home full-time or combine remote working with attending the office on set or random days, then this is clearly a relevant theme to embrace.
Split everyone into groups and brainstorm the best and worst things about working from home, or invite a keynote speaker to extol the virtues of working from home. Or within the traditional office environment if that’s the approach that works for your business.
Once more, this is one of the trending conference themes that presents the opportunity of ensuring everyone knows where they stand on the homeworking issue.
6. Hot Trends in Turbulent Times
There’s no doubt that we’re all living in challenging times in so many ways. With this in mind, your meeting theme could focus on what’s working – in terms of organisational success – despite the obstacles faced.
Again, the right keynote speaker could bring this theme to life. The idea is to leave every delegate feeling inspired and motivated, so seek out stories which can do just that. Which businesses have become success stories over the last year, or previous few months, for instance?
Understanding what’s working (and what’s not) can provide clarity and focus. It may even lead to attendees coming up with a hot new concept of their own. When everyone embraces blue sky thinking, then only the sky’s the limit.