What's your message for this year's meeting? Your theme can be instrumental in directing content and marketing efforts, while reflecting both internal and attendee current focus areas.
Look at the dates, location and time of year - do they lend themselves to a theme?
Are there any holidays or other special dates to consider near the time of the conference that you can build into your theme?
Think about the purpose of the conference and its attendees. Consider the company goals and direction and key phrases or words.
What do you want the attendees to take away from the conference?
If there are any hot topics in the industry, try to incorporate them within the conference theme
Research past history of the conference to see what themes have been used and if any are worth repeating
Find a quiet space away from work if possible and be sure to include all key people in the brainstorming session
Clearly define the objective and desired outcome of the brainstorming session before you begin
Designate one person as the idea coordinator
Prepare your “brainstorming tools”:
Consider writing each idea on a sticky note that can be attached to the flipchart and easily rearranged, then group all similar ideas together
Remember that "no idea is a bad idea"
Try to keep it fun and engaging while focusing on your objective
Record all ideas and wait until later to evaluate them; aim for quantity, not quality
Once you have finished your brainstorming session, narrow down the best options by having each person vote on their top three ideas for the theme
Either present the best three ideas (with reasoning) to your decision maker, or if the group has final say, narrow the list down to the best theme based on consensus
File all of the ideas from the brainstorming session away for future theme development meetings - you never know when they will come in handy at a later date
Create a conference logo and graphics to match the theme and be sure to use them everywhere
Ask the speakers to link their content and conclusions to the theme via visuals or verbal presentation