Event Marketing

Here Are a Few ABSTRACT Event Concept Ideas to Wow Your Attendees

Eventually Learning Team
Oh, that last conference I attended? I don’t really remember what we did there. It was mostly just speaker sessions and some food.

Do you want one of your attendees to think of your event like that? Break through the mundane event concept ideas and give your attendees something worth remembering and looking forward to. Browse through these ABSTRACT event concepts before planning your next event!

Silent Conferences

Silent conferences are events where guests don wireless headphones and tune into a specific lecture. The silent conference concept is a huge time saver for event planners because it means multiple speakers can speak at once, while guests tune into the presentation they’re interested in. This is also beneficial when the venue lacks multiple rooms.

Multiple speakers can share the same room space without their respective listeners being disturbed by the other lectures taking place. To cite an example, ‘The Silent Leadership’ was a silent conference on sustainability that took place in Stockholm, and had roughly 700 people in attendance!


An ‘Unconference’ is a relatively new concept and the one that’s gaining a lot of traction. Unlike a traditional conference, unconferences are loosely structured and often don’t even have a speaker. At the most, they have a designated facilitator.

Here’s how Unconferences usually work: there are no assigned topics to be discussed. The topics are left to the guests that write down what they would like to talk about on a chalkboard. Based on what is written, guests are broken into groups where the chosen topics become the focus subject. Essentially, an unconference is one big open discussion forum rather than a structured conference with a speaker.

The Diabetes UnConference is an example of such an event. As suggested in its name, this is a diabetes awareness seminar. It goes by the model that every attendee is an expert and has something to share. Everyone is invited to ask and answer questions in a safe and non-judgmental setting.

Speed Networking

These are planned events where attendees meet up with other like-minded people where business cards can be exchanged. It has been observed that there is excellent feedback from these type of events, with guests indicating that speed networking has led to more clients or job opportunities. Keep in mind that speed networking can also be a remote event. This can connect people from all over the globe! EYP is one such group based in London that routinely hosts meetup events for young professionals - where they network and build connections to collaborate on freelance gigs and more.

Light-Speed Presentations

‘PechaKucha’ is a simple presentation format that was devised in Tokyo in 2003 by local creatives. The speakers talk along on 20 images, each shown for 20 seconds. PechaKucha events involve a series of usually 8-15 short stand-up talks! These are often “elevator pitches” by the creators, students, researchers or startups who want to spread their new innovative ideas.

For instance, Ignite Talks gives speakers five minutes to talk on a subject accompanied by 20 slides, spending 15 seconds on each! Similarly, Lightning Talks are informal 5-minute presentations, typically scheduled in a single track.

Lunch Clubbing

Lunch clubbing is similar, except that the members are dance enthusiasts. In place of having the usual networking lunch at the venue, people attend a short dance plus network event! Attendees pay a small fee, which also includes drinks and lunch. This concept was started in Sweden by an organization known as Lunch Beat. The company has a set of established rules for participants. Lunch clubbing is especially a good idea if your event caters solely to the local demographic.

Fishbowl Conversations

This is a super engaging meeting concept. It’s a great fit for participatory events like Unconferences and Open Space Technology. A fishbowl panel discussion comes from the popular ‘open fishbowl conversation format’. Guest panelists occupy two to three chairs. One chair is left empty for audience members. The moderator introduces the topic, and the panelists start discussing it.

Any member of the audience can, at any time, occupy the empty chair and join the fishbowl panel. When this happens, an existing member of the fishbowl must voluntarily leave the fishbowl and free the chair. The discussion continues with participants frequently entering and leaving the panel until the time is up. The moderator then summarizes the discussion!

Campfire Sessions

This is an excellent format for peer-to-peer learning and making new connections. As the title suggests, these attempt to bring about a laid-back atmosphere with campfire-like storytelling. The format was pioneered by MPI. It regularly holds such sessions at its annual congresses, EMEC and WEC. The sessions usually last for 30 minutes. The delegates create the content and discuss it in real- time. There’s always a facilitator, who introduces the topic and steers the discussion.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are project-based events?

Project-based events are a norm in the tech industry. Also known as start-up weekends, at a project-based event the attendees come together to share ideas, come up with innovative practices, and even build concept and prototype models. Sometimes, the ideas even lead to an all-new startup company. For attendees from the tech industry including the designers, engineers etc. this means the possibility of new business relationships and ventures.

Why are innovative event formats important?

Innovative event concepts are important because out-of-the-box thinking and inventive ideas help create unique experiences for the guests, which not only ensures that they have a great time but also makes them eagerly look forward to the next event on the calendar!

What are some more unique event concepts?

A few more unique event concept ideas are listed below:
  • Speakeasy Venues – The speakeasy venues are small bars that sell alcohol and provide an intimate atmosphere to promote conversations.
  • Intellect Marathons – A meet-and-greet-thon promoting long business conversations are intellect marathons.
  • Blank Slate Periods - Blank slate periods are entire event agenda blocks that are left intentionally empty. Attendees can sign up to attend these blocks and, when they arrive at the designated venue, they will then work together in groups to come up with ideas for how they’d like to spend their time.

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