As far as buzzwords go “engagement” must be one of the most overused terms of 2014 and this looks set to continue into 2015. Whether we’re talking about employee engagement, social media engagement or audience engagement, it all boils down to the same thing; we all need to find ways to keep our staff / followers / attendees switched on, motivated and “engaged” with us.
Engagement is an issue for the event organiser; especially if your event is conference based and attendees spend large amounts of time sitting and being inactive. I won’t be the only person guilty of catching 40 winks when the lights dim for a presentation – not what you want for a successful event.
So what can you do to keep your attendees engaged throughout your conference or seminar? You may not be able to get away from the format of sitting in an auditorium listening to speakers or watching presentations, but there are things you can do keep engagement levels high throughout your event.
Re-Engage Attendees With Some Activity!
When my daughter’s teacher finds her class flagging at their desks, she takes them outside to hop on the spot or do burpies for 5 minutes. Whilst this might not be appropriate for your event, short aerobic workouts boost brainpower and increase high-order thinking skills. If you can’t send your attendees out for a jog around the block, you could still do something that gets them moving around and using their cognitive powers. Consider introducing some team building activities, aligned with the content of your conference and give your attendees an opportunity to learn new skills and enhance their existing ones. Team building activities are also great for networking: that stranger you’ve sat next too throughout the morning seminar becomes a new contact after working together on a problem-solving exercise – great for your attendees and great for your event engagement.
Introduce Event Technologies
Everyone is carrying around their own unique entertainment centre, in the form of their smartphone, so you might as well embrace this and ensure they are engaging with your event – not playing Candy Crush… Mobile apps, NFC, Twitter walls, films and more can all be employed to support your event engagement strategy.
Social media is the first choice of many for audience engagement (pre, during and post event), but its contribution during is particularly useful for those long conferences. By accepting that some of your attendees will not sit through a lengthy presentation with idle hands, you can use social to engage with them throughout. Solicit opinion or questions for panel discussions, provide opportunities for delegates to share content with others or offer further resources for them to read.
For more ideas of event technologies you could use at your next conference, click here.
Get Some Fresh Air Or A Change Of Scene
Not everyone takes the opportunity to get a breath of fresh air between event sessions. Getting outside, or just having a change of scene, can reinvigorate the mind and help delegates focus on the next session in the schedule. So to encourage those attendees who have become attached to their seats to reboot and re-engage, schedule some activities away from your conference room between sessions.
You may not be able to force delegates to go outside for the sake of it, but it might be feasible to deliver part of the event outdoors. When choosing a venue outside space should be a consideration. Look for locations that provide imaginative spaces to hold sections of your programme, or offer areas for attendees to take a break or network away from your main area.
Fortunately for anyone wondering how to keep engagement levels high at their next event, the possibilities are endless! If you would like to speak to us about event management and how we can help you run a successful and engaging event, please get in touch. Call 01252 629 996 or fill in our contact form here.