Evoking More Engagement at your Organization’s Next Event
Everyone that contributes to the planning wants their event, tradeshow, symposium, conference, or meeting to be successful. We pour ourselves into creating an impactful experience for our members and attendees. We continually make adjustments to format, decor, content, and anything else we can in an effort to make a memorable, invaluable moment for everyone that participates.
The most prevalent question in the minds of people planning events is quite enigmatic: How can I get everyone at the event more engaged?
While I wish the answer was a simple one, it’s not. Every group is different and every event unique. Over the past few years, I have spoken professionally at 100’s of events and curated several TEDx talks. During this time I have compiled some great tips for obtaining and retaining attendee engagement. I hope this helps you put on the your best possible event:
- First impressions set the expectations for your event. What do attendees see first? How are they greeted? Is registration daunting or fun? Place yourself in the shoes of your attendees think about THEIR experience.
- Energy is infectious. The energy, good or bad, that people experience from staff and volunteers inevitably sets the tone for the event. How can you make the energy positive and exciting?
- Gamify the experience. Games are no longer just for children. The more fun and experiential you make your event, the more memorable it will become. How can you make your event immersive for the people attending? Themes, games, and fun will create a stark difference between something amazing and something mediocre.
- Content variation can cultivate interest and intrigue. The same topics, speeches, sessions, and speakers can make attendees complacent. Find a way to bring something unique and exciting to your event while still providing value they can take back with them.
- Encourage interaction. Finding ways to nurture interaction between attendees, sponsors, and presenters can keep everyone fresh and interested in the event. Scavenger hunts, giveaways, and other social activities can break up the monotony and force interaction.
- Make your attendees remove the autopilot! It can be easy for people attend events and fall into patterns of sitting in a lecture and sorting through email on their phone. Balance lectures and training sessions with fun activities that work as pattern interruptions and encourage engagement.
If you want to evoke more engagement at your events, you have to obtain and retain your attendees’ attention. Do things that are unexpected, challenge expectations, and above all make it about them.