#MozCon is set to take place in September in Seattle, WA and we have to admit, it is one of our favorites here at Convention Nation. Aside from the fact that this conference takes place in the amazing city of Seattle, is a super fun crowd (CN Insider Tip: Don’t miss #MozCrawl!), and has a knowledgeable and inspiring lineup of speakers, the thing we like most about MozCon is the quality of the content. We often feel like our office must be bugged when the Moz Blog is posted about something we were literally just discussing in the office.
CN Insider Tip: Don’t miss #MozCrawl!
We’re all in agreement that MozCon is one of the best inbound marketing conferences of the year. However, MozCon’s tagline, “Not your typical marketing conference,” raises some questions. The tagline is right, it’s not your typical marketing conference in many wonderful ways. But one difference that we find very interesting about MozCon is that despite the large number of attendees, they have maintained the single room format throughout the conference rather than having several different breakout sessions. This question led to other questions, which led to this post.
What are the benefits of single room conferences vs. conferences with multiple breakout sessions?
What are the benefits of single room conferences vs. conference with multiple breakout sessions? #MozCon
Pro: We’re All in This Together
One of the benefits to single room conferences is that it brings everyone together and creates a buzz that only a large group can produce. With everyone in one room, sharing the same experience, a camaraderie amongst attendees is created as they feed off of each other’s energy. This is why keynotes and welcome speakers usually take place in the main conference room and include everyone.
The single room format creates a, “we’re all in this together,” mentality. Being in a large group is reassuring for people as they look around and see thousands of like-minded participants. This type of dynamic works well for high-energy events such as MozCon, where marketing professionals are likely to be a more social crowd.
The single room format of #MozCon creates a, “we’re all in this together,” mentality.
Con: I Can’t Hear You
The one-room format does not work well for attendees who want to be heard. Although there are apps and tools for audience participation, attendees are less likely to feel engaged in a room full of 4,000 people. It is also more intimidating for the less outgoing attendees to participate in this large of a crowd.
Small break-out sessions facilitate real-time interaction and questions better because the crowd is smaller, the speaker is physically closer to the audience, and a higher percentage of the group can participate in the discussion.
This is where the social and networking events at MozCon play a key role. Because the single-room format does not create an inviting opportunity for individual participation, the networking events become the vehicle for small group discussion. Attendees continue the conversation at networking events where they can debate the topics in more detail amongst the groups of people they choose. This again, enhances the social aspect of MozCon.
Pro: Shared Information
Another benefit to the single room conference format is that everyone has the chance to hear all of the speakers. Conference attendees don’t need an app to organize their schedule. They get the full value of their admission by receiving all of the information that the conference brings to the agenda.
The breakout session format can be frustrating when attendees have to choose between speakers and rush from room to room. It can be difficult to organize your conference schedule to maximize the content you want to hear. MozCon removes the “fear of missing out” from the equation by putting all of its cards on the table for everyone to see in one room.
MozCon removes #FOMO by hosting all of the speakers in one room for the entire conference.
Con: The Nitty Gritty Details
The one-room format of conferences such as MozCon can make it difficult to learn detailed information. Many retain information better through participation and engagement, which can be difficult amongst such a large crowd (as noted above). Speaker presentations are often high level and are designed to appeal to everyone.
Very detailed or technical information is best presented in small breakout sessions where participants can interact on a more personal level with the conference speaker. People are also more likely to stay engaged with the content in a smaller session where they are visible and held accountable.
The large room format allows attendees to disappear in the crowd when the content gets tough.
Which Conference Format is Best?
It really comes down to content when deciding which conference format is best for your event. The breakout session format is going to work better for technical, educational, or very specific content. Attendees are there to gain detailed information and need close interaction and accountability (without the pressure of a large crowd) to learn.
The single-room format works well for a social, energetic crowd that isn’t afraid to participate in front of others where the information is high-level.
We hope you have a blast at MozCon in Seattle! This is truly a unique marketing conference experience, whether it’s in one room or many.
Check out our MozCon page on Convention Nation to learn more about the event or write a review to tell others what you think!