The most important part of an event is the attendee experience. Illuminating your event story in innovative and fresh ways will encourage a new level of engagement and motivation, leading to an enhanced experience for your attendees. Creating a dream scenario where participation and total event immersion leave your attendees more inspired to achieve than ever before is right at your fingertips. Here are five ways you can stimulate event engagement that will not only improve the event itself, but will increase your return on investment by driving motivation to meet long-term goals.
1) Pre-Event Engagement Communications
Planning a great event is a sure-fire way to motivate your audience to perform, but if you don’t make your event participants fully aware of the benefits they’ve earned, you may fall short of your event goals. Every superior event experience begins with a succinct and vibrant message. Compelling pre-event communications that convey that message can increase excitement and visibility while building a community of engaged attendees long before the day of the event.
We recommend utilizing a cross-media approach—a combination of both print and digital communications—to expand your reach and ensure your message is received in advance. Once you’ve involved your audience early, you’ll have an outstanding opportunity to execute your event goals while motivating a highly engaged audience.
2) Themed Events
Studies show that when words and images are combined together, they are five times more memorable than words alone. By leveraging creativity, you can do more than just name an event. You can theme an event that creates an immersive environment. An environment that becomes an experience, exuding a tone that sparks conversation around your event topic and goals.
Dynamic and visual themes create excitement and get your message noticed, especially when the theme is carried throughout the event. Start by building your agenda with evening events and activities that communicate the theme and incorporate your messaging. From your general session, to on-site branding with wall coverings and projected images; visual prompts, reminders and repetition will make your event one that will be talked about and elicit the goals you desire.
3) Mobile Event Apps
An interactive, community-building and highly functioning conference app will create an event that attendees will remember long after the experience ends. Create a dynamic mobile event app that will ensure participation and connection while facilitating individual management of the event experience based on a user’s unique preferences. Easily accessible information featured on this event app can include:
- Agendas and maps
- Messaging and audience response tools
- Social media network integration
A constantly evolving mobile event app will boost engagement and also enhance upcoming events. By utilizing surveys and polling features via a mobile app during an event, you can understand trends, preferences and demographics for future use. Questionnaire and session feedback features can also make sure your desired message was conveyed and that attendees got what they wanted out of your event.
4) Event Presentations that Encourage Audience Participation
Memorable events have one thing in common: they feature presentations that connect with the audience. Make sure your speakers include interactive elements in their presentations that will captivate the audience. Some ideas include:
- Incorporating live demonstrations that invite audience members to play a part through a mobile event app
- Conducting a quiz or game show with prizes
- Playing fill-in-the-blank by asking the audience to fill in missing words or data
- Telling a well-crafted story utilizing video, music and technology outside of a one-dimensional slide show
These ideas can help event attendees connect to speakers and create memorable experiences. Observing your attendees actively participate will also help you to better understand them in a more authentic way, allowing you to motivate them with methods that feel genuine at upcoming events.
5) Creative Event Space Set-Ups
Crescent style, classroom style and theatre style. Your attendees have likely experienced these standard room layouts before in breakouts and general sessions. Using your imagination to create a room layout specific to a presentation, theme or goal can leave a lasting impression while enhancing engagement. Remember your audience needs to feel comfortable, inspired and engaged, and your meeting space can be designed to accommodate this. Here are a few non-standard set-ups to spark your creativity:
- Wheel Set-Up: Envision a wheel with spokes converging at a circular hub in the center, with the center used for staging, a band or a dance floor. The tables are arranged in rows in the same formation as the spokes of a wheel, so all audience members have a centralized view. This set-up works best for interactive presentations.
- Catwalk Set-Up: The stage configuration and lighting are similar to what is used at fashion shows, but with tables arranged around the catwalk. The catwalk set-up allows presenters to flow through a greater portion of their audience. This set-up works best for entertainers or performance-based presentations.
- Work spaces: Rethink board rooms and breakouts. Create “work spaces” that incorporate a more residential feel with furniture and casual interaction to increase collaboration among your attendees.
What is the most engaging event you have attended? What stood out?