How to make events great again

A microphone during a conference. Photo by: fill / CC0

BRUSSELS — After a two-hour policy pow-wow in a stuffy room, the chocolate mousse is waiting outside, fingers are twitching on business-card holsters, mobile phones are out, and even the moderator is beginning to glaze over.

Then someone takes the microphone and speaks the immortal words: “This is more of a comment than a question ... ” Everyone starts shifting in their seats.

Avoiding this scenario was the aim of the latest seminar held by EU Panel Watch, a nonprofit organization of young professionals in Brussels who want to improve the quality of policy debates. Having previously discussed how to avoid all-male panels, the group invited communications expert Elizabeth Van Den Bergh to share her tips for keeping events engaging. These were some of the key takeaways.

1. Put the audience on stage

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About the author

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    Vince Chadwick

    Vince Chadwick is the Brussels Correspondent for Devex. He covers the EU institutions, member states, and European civil society. A law graduate from Melbourne, Australia, he was social affairs reporter for The Age newspaper, before moving to Europe in 2013. He covered breaking news, the arts and public policy across the continent, including as a reporter and editor at POLITICO Europe.