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executive leading a conference workshop activity
Madison ShepherdJun 25, 2024 2:33:34 PM9 min read

8 Conference Workshop Ideas to Elevate Your Next Event

8 Conference Workshop Ideas to Elevate Your Next Event

Looking for workshop ideas for your next conference or corporate event? You’ve come to the right place. 

We've noticed a growing preference among attendees for workshops over general sessions. According to a study by 6Connex, there is increasing interest among attendees in hands-on and collaborative workshop formats.

Well-designed workshops can elevate your event by offering attendees not just knowledge, but also practical tips and valuable networking opportunities.

Here are eight creative workshop ideas that can take your event to the next level. 

attendees participating in a conference workshop activity

1. Hackathon

A hackathon can be an exciting and hands-on activity to give attendees the chance to solve problems or create new products and services. (And hackathons aren’t just for software developers!)

Here's how it typically works:

Introduction and Kickoff

Present your conference attendees with a problem or challenge that needs a solution. These could range from improving a product feature to developing a new service or solving operational inefficiencies.

Have your attendees form teams, ideally mixing members from different departments to break down silos.

Hackathon Sessions

Have the teams work intensively in sessions to brainstorm, develop, and prototype their solutions. This involves:

  • Idea Generation: Brainstorming sessions to come up with new ideas.
  • Prototyping: Developing a functional prototype or a detailed plan for the solution.
  • Mentorship: Availability of leaders or experts to provide guidance and support.

Collaboration Activities

Include inter-department mixers with activities designed to help participants understand different roles and improve collaboration.

  • Have attendees role-swap to gain insights into each other’s challenges and workflows.
  • Host regular check-ins with other teams to share progress and get feedback.

Presentations and Judging

Have teams present their ideas to a panel of judges, which may include company executives or industry experts.

Hand out prizes for the best solutions. These can range from monetary rewards to opportunities for further development and implementation of the project.

attendees participating in a conference workshop activity

2. KPI Setting Workshop

A KPI (Key Performance Indicator) setting workshop at a conference is a hands-on session where attendees learn to set practical and measurable goals using real-world examples. 

Here’s how you can structure your KPI workshop:

Introduction and Overview

Begin the workshop with an introduction by an executive, providing an overview of the workshop agenda, including key activities and expected outcomes.

Educational Segment

Give a short presentation to conference attendees on what KPIs are, why they matter, and how to set them.

Discuss best practices for selecting and defining KPIs with your attendees, ensuring they are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, Time-bound).

Hands-On KPI Setting

Have each group go through exercises to set KPIs for their given scenario. This includes defining objectives, determining relevant metrics, and setting targets.

Leaders can move around the conference groups, giving guidance, answering questions, and providing feedback on the suggested KPIs.

Group Presentations

Encourage each group to present their scenario, objectives, and chosen KPIs to the larger audience. This allows for knowledge sharing and collective learning.

Facilitators and participants should provide constructive feedback on the presentations, discussing the strengths and areas for improvement.

Wrap-Up and Takeaways

At the end, open the floor for any final questions or comments from participants. Encourage your attendees to apply what they’ve learned to their own roles by setting KPIs for their teams or projects after the conference.

conference activities participating in a workshop activity

3. Ideation Session

An ideation session at a conference is an interactive activity designed to generate and share creative ideas. Here’s how it typically works:


Place whiteboards around the room, along with markers and sticky notes for attendees to use. Conference attendees are divided into pairs to encourage more focused brainstorming.


Have each pair start brainstorming ideas related to the session’s theme or problem statement. They can write their thoughts on sticky notes.

Encourage attendees to think freely and write down all ideas, no matter how out-of-the-box they may seem.

Sharing and Collaboration

Have attendees place their sticky notes on the whiteboards around the room. This visual display helps in clustering similar ideas.

As pairs finish, they can walk around, read others' ideas, and discuss them. This promotes cross-pollination of thoughts and further refines the ideas.

Clustering and Refinement

Have facilitators help organize the sticky notes into clusters based on common themes or concepts.

Attendees can gather around each cluster to discuss and refine the ideas further, combining similar concepts and building on each other’s suggestions.

Presentation and Feedback

Each group can present their refined ideas to the conference audience. The idea here is to get everyone to listen to a range of suggestions. 

Facilitators and participants provide constructive feedback, asking questions and offering suggestions to improve the ideas.

attendee participating in a conference workshop activity and painting

4. Painting or Pottery-Making

A painting or pottery-making session at a conference provides a creative and relaxing break from conference presentations.

Here’s how a painting or pottery session typically works at a conference:

Introduction and Setup

Begin the session with a brief introduction by the facilitator, explaining the purpose of the creative activity and its benefits for relaxation and team building.

Equip the room with all necessary materials, such as paints, brushes, canvases, clay, pottery wheels, and sculpting tools.

Creative Time

Have attendees start their projects! For painting, they might begin sketching and then move on to applying paint. For pottery, they might start molding the clay or using a wheel.

Relaxation and Enjoyment

The activity is designed to be relaxing and stress-free, allowing attendees to unwind and engage in a different form of creativity away from their usual work. 

Soft background music can be played to create a relaxing atmosphere.

lego serious play activity for a conference activity

5. Lego Play

A LEGO activity at a conference can be an engaging way to encourage creative problem-solving among attendees. 

Here’s how you can structure the activity: 

Setup and Introduction

Begin by introducing the concept of LEGO Serious Play (LSP), explaining that it's a methodology where participants use LEGO bricks to build models that represent their ideas, thoughts, and solutions.

Present an organizational challenge or topic relevant to the conference theme. For example, it could be improving communication within teams, designing a new product, or addressing a customer service issue.

Building Models

Give each attendee a set of LEGO bricks and ask them to individually build a model that represents their understanding of the challenge.

Once everyone has built their models, create a sharing circle where each attendee explains their model to the group.

Group Model Building

Facilitate a discussion where participants identify common themes or elements across the individual models. This helps in recognizing shared insights or perspectives.

Based on the identified themes, ask participants to collaboratively build a larger model that incorporates the key elements from everyone’s individual models.

Reflection and Discussion

Once the group model is completed, create a discussion around it. Ask questions such as:

  • What does the model tell us about the challenge or issue?
  • What are the strengths of this model?
  • Are there any insights or new perspectives gained from this exercise?

Have attendees take the model they’ve built and use it to come up with ideas for solutions or strategies. 

executive presenting an elevator pitch activity idea for a conference

6. Elevator Pitch

Host an elevator pitch-style activity at your conference, drawing inspiration from the popular TV show Shark Tank.

Here’s how you can design an elevator pitch-style activity: 

Setup and Introduction

Before the conference, invite attendees to form teams and prepare pitches related to a specific conference theme or industry topic. This could be innovation in technology, sustainability solutions, or any relevant field.

Pitch Sessions

Each participating team gets a short amount of time (e.g., 2-3 minutes) to present their idea. The pitch should be concise and compelling, capturing the essence of their solution or concept.

Following each pitch, the judges can ask questions to clarify details, challenge assumptions, or explore potential opportunities with the idea.

Judging and Feedback

Have your judges assess each pitch based on predefined criteria. These may include:

  • Innovation and uniqueness of the idea
  • Potential impact or scalability
  • Business viability and market fit
  • Clarity and effectiveness of the pitch presentation

After all pitches are presented, judges provide constructive feedback to each group. They may rank the pitches or select a winner based on their evaluation criteria.

Finally, announce the winners and consider offering prizes, monetary incentives, or extra PTO.

attendees celebrating at a corporate social responsibility event at a conference

7. Volunteering

Is corporate social responsibility (CSR) important to your company? 

Consider choosing a volunteering activity that your conference attendees could participate in. 

Give-back events are a great way to connect with your community and support your corporate social responsibility efforts.

To keep the atmosphere lively, hire an emcee to provide entertainment and trivia throughout the volunteering activity.

Check out our list of 8 corporate social responsibility event ideas for your next conference.

man giving a tour of the city to conference attendees as a workshop activity

8. City Tour

Hosting a conference in a large city?

Including a city tour during your conference lets attendees discover local culture, history, and attractions. Here’s how this activity would work:

  • Choose a specific theme for the city tour that aligns with the conference focus, such as historical architecture, urban development, or cultural heritage. Identify key landmarks, historical buildings, or architectural marvels that participants will explore.
  • This is optional, but you can arrange for guides who specialize in the chosen theme. These guides should be able to provide in-depth insights into the historical significance, architectural styles, etc. of the sites.
  • To make it competitive, organize scavenger hunt challenges. Groups will hunt for specific details or answers about the sites, like finding architectural features, locating historical plaques, or uncovering hidden symbols.

Looking for more ideas? Check out our article on 23 creative conference activities ideas for your next event. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is a conference workshop?

A conference workshop is an interactive session within a larger conference or event designed to engage participants in hands-on activities, discussions, and collaborative learning. 

Unlike traditional presentations or lectures, workshops are typically more dynamic. They allow attendees to actively engage with the material, develop new skills, and interact with others.

How do I make workshops fun?

Workshops are not just about learning; they're also about creating an engaging and enjoyable experience for participants.

Here are some tips to make your workshops more fun:

  • Gamify Learning: Incorporate elements of gamification by turning learning objectives into challenges or tasks. For example, use quizzes, puzzles, or team competitions related to the workshop content.
  • Creative Materials: Provide colorful materials, markers, sticky notes, or other creative tools that participants can use to visualize ideas or concepts. 
  • Incorporate Technology: Utilize technology such as interactive polls, digital whiteboards, or online collaboration tools to facilitate real-time interaction and feedback.
  • Change of Pace: Fun activities like quick icebreakers or mini-games can refresh participants.
  • Use Humor and Storytelling: Incorporate humor and storytelling into your workshop to make the content more relatable or to illustrate key points.

How do I choose the right workshop for my conference?

Consider the theme and objectives of your conference. What activities do you think your attendees will find enjoyable and engaging? 

Choose a workshop that aligns with your event's overall goals and theme.

Let’s Plan Your Next Conference

GoGather has years of experience in conference logistics and event management services, crafting memorable experiences for high-profile brands. 

Unlike other event management companies, GoGather works closely with you to create experiences and activities that are creative, streamlined, and smart. Let’s brainstorm your next event together.

plan your next corporate event with GoGather


Madison Shepherd

Madison Shepherd is a Marketing Specialist at GoGather. When she's not writing blogs or sending out social media posts, she enjoys hiking, traveling, or reading at one of the many beautiful beaches in San Diego.