Things people hate to hear at conferences

Things people hate to hear at conferences

At conferences and events, several phrases will strike fear into every attendee. Believe us; no one wants to hear these dreaded words. Here’s what they are and our tips on how to avoid these.

What’s going on?

These days, an event planner is challenged to bring new ideas to conferences rather than the standard format. However, you need to inform attendees of the structure of the day. There’s nothing worse than not knowing the rough form or flow of the day. Content should be clear, relevant and consistent.

Start and end on time

Starting late or finishing after advertised is a big bugbear. Even with the best intentions, participants can’t and won’t all arrive simultaneously at the exact time a meeting is scheduled to start. Finishing late is also a big no-no. Parents may need to get their children from school, or delegates may have other appointments to get to. Don’t be offended if someone politely tells the organiser they have to leave.

Painful icebreakers

Sometimes icebreakers are unavoidable. If delegates don’t know each other, they need to feel comfortable quickly. If done right, icebreakers can energise people and kick off the session on a high note. What about rock-paper scissors? Round by round, players will be eliminated, leaving a winner. Don’t forget to give the winner a prize.

Queue up here

If long queues are unavoidable, make sure there is something to do. Fill the void of waiting with something to read, an industry video to watch or a brain teaser to test their knowledge or expectations.

WiFi isn’t working

Whether it is following the conference on social media or sending an email, make sure that the WiFi is working ahead of time. Things we all hate doing is checking posts, news or reading a blog without being connected.

Learn more by purchasing

One of the things people hate most is when a workshop is poorly promoted. For example, if it is ‘interesting ways to generate new business leads’, give those attending some practical ideas. It is frustrating to hint at them and then say you can learn more by purchasing a course or a book. Give a real hook before you extend the offer.

Any questions?

How many meetings have you been to where the people who should contribute don’t? Study your attendee list and develop a shortlist of questions that can be directed at the audience. Start a discussion instead of waiting for the debate to start.


It seems that one of the biggest things we all hate is coffee, from tasting awful to not being provided at all. This is easily solved. Make sure there are tea and coffee facilities provided, as well as water or soft drinks. Having a brew in hand makes guests feel more at ease to work the room and network.

It’s a healthy lunch

There’s nothing wrong with a healthy lunch but it needs to be exciting and be able to fuel that afternoon dip. Things adults hate is food being uninspiring. Delegates want something easy to eat, feel satisfied. The food should keep their mind sharp. Can the bacon rolls at breakfast be served on rye bread, white rice, and pasta swapped for wholemeal? Or can more superfoods be added to the menu?

Sorry, we’ve run out

One thing you dislike is not getting the goody bag, business manual or free handout options. It makes delegates feel that they aren’t welcome at the meeting. Management of your stock is vital. Make sure you have more than enough for all attendees.

How can Future Inns help plan your event?

Future Inns are superbly equipped to host your next meeting or conference and have various event suites depending on your delegate specifications. Our Event Planners can advise on maximum delegate numbers, room configurations, explain food and drink setups.

Our meeting rooms feature free Wi-Fi, data projection, flipchart and pens, temperature control and blackout facilities. There is ample free car parking* available onsite along with three large coach bays*.

Contact Future Inns

Contact a member of our Events Team today to discuss how to facilitate a professional and worry-free experience for you as an organiser and all of your delegates.


Tel: 0117 304 1010




Tel: 02920 487111




Tel: 01752 701000



* Not available at Future Inn Bristol

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