Leadership conferences can last as short as an afternoon or as long as a week and are often as much about building connections between participants as they are about teaching leadership skills. Whether you're dealing with students or professionals, workers or executives, adults or young people, you can keep people engaged and inspired by giving your leadership conference a compelling theme.
Organize your leadership conference around an inspiring theme that will encourage attendants to become good leaders themselves. Try something basic such as "The Building Blocks of Leadership," "Putting the Pieces Together" or "Explore Your Possibilities." Motivate with soaring themes such as "Unleashing Your Inner Potential," "Reaching for the Stars" or "Climbing the Ladder of Success." Themes should be memorable and give attendees something to easily recall throughout the year to help them tap into the lessons they learn at the conference.
If your conference attendees all have something in common, like being in the same profession or industry, you should consider tying this into your theme. If they are all sales professionals, then a theme could tap into their unique role in their organizations, like "Steering from the Engine Room," or "Leading Customers Towards Success." If the attendees are all in the software industry, then a theme like "Leadership by Design" could help connect software design to leadership styles, like innovation and constant improvement.
Use a fun theme for your leadership conference if you want the seminar to have a lighter atmosphere. If your conference is people already in the workforce, try a nostalgia theme. Pick a period that your participants may be familiar with and have warm feelings for. If you're dealing with young professionals, just going 10 years back in time takes them back to when they were kids.
Encourage participants to dress up in clothes from their youth to lighten the mood. Try a theme such as "The Games We Play" to show how so much of leadership is knowing the rules and taking a role in directing a group activity. Set the room up with various board game stations to let people practice their leadership skills.
Many themes derived from popular movies have direct ties to leadership. Try using the theme from "Mission: Impossible" and make all participants into secret agents whose mission is to become a better leader. Use the theme from "Ghostbusters" to get attendees to get rid of their inner "ghosts" of self-doubt and tentativeness. Use the theme from "_The Lord of the Ring_s" to discuss how leadership works in the movie, where different people must come together to fulfill a quest. You can also use it to show how power can blind people to everyday realities.
Teaching leadership skills to new employees is equally as important as those who are already in leadership positions. A theme like "Tomorrow's Leaders Begin Today" could entice them to begin seeing themselves as the leaders they hope to become. Likewise, a theme like "Leadership From the Trenches," would motivate them to begin leading by example with their coworkers and how to help inspire their managers.