Creating engagement with attendees has become the driving force of modern meetings and events. After all, if the people at your event aren’t immersed in the content and messaging you’re offering, what’s the point of them being there at all? This is your opportunity to bond with them in a highly relevant way, on their terms, to deliver an experience that reinforces why they are gathered and what they will take away when they leave. Following are 10 tips to improve attendee engagement.
1. Communicate on Their Terms
Ask how attendees want to be communicated to and how that relates to their goals.
2. Engagement Drives the Process
Make sure that your programs are designed with participation and interaction in mind.
3. Engagement Doesn’t End With the Event
After the event, create a memorable way to follow up with them that extends the experience. Whether it is a video, a unique gift, etc., make it stand out.
I used to have valets put milk and cookies in the attendees’ cars when they left. I’ve also sent donuts and bagels in branded boxes to their homes a week after the program was over.
4. Cell Phones Are Your Friend
Don’t ever tell them to turn off their phones! Push as much content as you can to their devices via Bluetooth or a user-friendly app.
5. Instagram Rules
Have Instagram-worthy features available everywhere—for the “gram!”
People want bragging rights!
6. Speakers Must Interact With Attendees
Nobody wants to be spoken to; they want to have a conversation. Keep that in mind when identifying speakers and moderators.
Further, attendees would love an audience with the speakers.
If you can make that a reality after the keynote/main presentation, even better.
7. Reinforce Key Messages
Make sure that the goals or key learnings are reiterated toward the end.
8. Engagement Is Different for Each Attendee
Not every attendee likes to engage in the same way—some like solving problems, some like physically doing things with their hands, some like using tech in creative ways.
Even the way attendees interact varies tremendously.
Some like working in large groups, some like working in small groups, some like working alone, some like competition and some like working toward a common goal. Offer different styles of engagement to speak to as many people as possible. (And make sure to collect data on which ones are the most popular for your specific attendees).
9. Keep Speaker Presentations Concise
Attention spans are decreasing. Keep speaker times short (20 minutes or less) and movement high. This keeps everyone attentive.
10. Surprises Work Wonders
Maybe it’s a slackliner (similar to tight-rope walker) in the hall between meeting/session rooms, maybe it’s a pet goat being walked on a leash.
Small but unexpected elements throughout your event will keep guests' minds active and offer many conversation points for networking.
Guest Blogger: Flo Miniscloux Director of Production Services, Extraordinary Events. Flo Miniscloux is director of production services for Extraordinary Events, a Los Angeles-based worldwide experiential events agency.