From the stage

Relevance of conferences in a digital era 

The business conference circuit has been a hallmark for executives, investors, and the broader public in Australia for decades, with more than 43 million delegates attending events across the nation annually.  

But repercussions of a global pandemic and increased demand for immediate connection has resulted in a shift towards more interaction occurring in virtual environments, reducing traditional face-to-face format meetings and discussion. 

So how do conferences remain relevant in a world where immediacy and remoteness increasingly permeate the workplace? It seems event organisers have found a way, by embracing change rather than fighting it.  

After touring dozens of conference floors this year, including RIU Explorers in Fremantle, RIU Resources Round-Up in Sydney and Australian Energy Producers in Perth, there has been a common technological thread linking presenters to audiences not in the room.  

Livestreaming presentations to both promote a business and showcase each company outside the walls they are presenting from are now increasingly built into conference functionality.  

Research has found 30 per cent of people who watch a livestreamed event will attend in person the following year. This is often reflected in conference attendance rates, which for some have increased markedly in the years post-COVID.  

For example, the number of attendees at PDAC, the world’s premier mining and exploration conference held in Toronto every year, increased by 10 per cent in 2024 compared to the previous year.  

Closer to home, RIU Explorers reported a record 2,500 delegates attending in Fremantle, Western Australia this year – ready to learn about and potentially invest in exploration and mining companies.  

For those wanting to tell their story, in-person attendance at conferences provides invaluable face-to-face engagement between company representatives and potential investors, that would otherwise be missed in a digital environment.  

The shaking of hands, visual nuances of interest, and basic human connection are essential when engaging people who could become a major shareholder or could provide access to capital. 

But the benefits of face-to-face engagement at a conference goes further than just supporting companies as they grow – in-person attendance also benefits the broader economy.  

The Australian Government has reported business events, including conferences, expos, and trade fairs, contributed more than $20 billion to the nation’s economy in 2023 alone.  

When you consider the breadth and depth of local, national and international companies attending these events – particularly those focused on the resources sector – this figure is unsurprising.  

But as the technological tide continues to change, conference organisers are adapting, utilising the latest in livestreaming software and professionals in the communications industry to help deliver a seamless show.  

For presenters, the amalgamation of digital and physical stages provides an exciting opportunity to connect with people from around the world, paired with the challenge of delivering key messages to multiple audience types.  

It’s important in this new era of hybrid conferences to deliver a presentation which benefits both direct and indirect audiences while ensuring your story is being heard by the right people. 

From learning how to move on stage during your presentation to digitising your presentation and company collateral, there’s a raft of changes you can make to create better connection with the audiences that matter most.  

Learn how SPOKE can help you up your presentation game to build better investor relations.