7,500 people have passed through the doors of 2018 Nordic Business Forum in Helsinki last week, with more than 20 thousand people watching on the live stream across the world. Why is it that the Nordic Business Forum – and conferences like it all over the world – are so popular? What is it about the conference experience that truly provides value to those who attend? We asked this year’s conference goers to find out.
Piritta van der Beek is a Facilitator and CEO at Grape People. For her, conferences offer an opportunity for her staff to efficiently grow and network.
“I’m one of several people from our company in attendance today. I think it’s crucial to build a conference strategy, create a plan for the types of skills we need and focus in on acquiring them at the event. If our personnel don’t renew themselves, our company won’t renew itself either.
“The second reason to be here is the networking opportunity. People consider this to be an expensive seminar, however this experience delivers real value. Instead of spending 20 thousand euros to attend a one-day management event, one could bring 15 people to a conference like this for the same price where they would each benefit from the many meeting opportunities on offer. I have 7 meetings scheduled for today and 6 for tomorrow.”
Many seminars offer networking opportunities, however it is essential networking is facilitated so people don’t miss opportunities to communicate with the right people. Brella Co-Founder and VP of Sales Jani Lehtimäki has built a company which has meeting facilitation in its DNA.
“When we founded the company as young co-founders, we attended events like this to find the right connections for us to grow. We soon realised that meeting the right person tended to rely on pure chance.
“We decided to solve the problem of bringing the right people together in an effective and simple way, whether an event has 50 people or 50 thousand in attendance. When more of the right people meet, more value is created for attendees who commit valuable time and money to be in attendance. Event hosts also benefit as they are able to deliver great experiences for people both during speeches and out on the conference floor.”
Live Stage speaker, entrepreneur and 6-time Nordic Business Forum attendee Camilla Tuominen has been a fan since the conference’s early days in Jyväskylä.
“I love the variety of speeches that Nordic Business Forum provides, especially as the experts have the opportunity to dive deeply into their chosen subjects. I’m not overly keen on things like fireside chats where people have a tendency to be less focused.”
Start up entrepreneur, healthy living enthusiast and Nordic Fit Mama Riina Laaksonen is also a fan of the inspiration and motivation boosts she receives from events and conferences. “In my role as an entrepreneur, it’s my job to inspire other people – but I also have to get my own inspiration as well! The best conferences give me ideas I can take home with me and put into action in my own life.”
Jonne Tiili, Founder and Chairman of non profit Studentti and top Brella user at this year’s conference (with 19 meetings booked!) is attracted to conferences with quality speakers in particular. “Aside from making connections, I’m keen to hear practical advice and new ideas. Even if a speech’s value is initially hard to initially uncover, I tend to go away from conferences like this, reflect, then have a mini revelation at a later date.”
With conferences a whirlwind of activity taking place over several days, Framery CEO and Founder Samu Hellförs is on a mission to make your conference experience a happy, productive one.
“Much like in open offices, wide open spaces with no walls are great places to foster social activities. However, well functioning event venues need quiet spaces where focused activities can take place. In order to achieve meaningful goals – like productive one-to-ones that lead to new business opportunities – we want to give people a place like our booths where they can concentrate on getting the best result.”
Networking, inspiration, value creation. That sounds a lot like growth.