ENGAGE your attendees or they may either leave you or forget about you!

ENGAGE your attendees or they may either leave you or forget about you!

by Terri Yanke
Don’t waste your dollars with another mediocre event.  You need to make it a memorable experience for your attendees whether they are your employees or clients/customers.  If you don’t make it memorable they may not retain information shared and could leave with a bad taste in their mouth that could lead to them leaving you as an employee or as a client/customer and goint to another company or service that knows how to treat them better.
My previous blog encouraged you to use the WOW Factor to give your attendees a great first impression at your event – now what?  You need to keep them engaged!  An engaged attendee will remember the event more and in a positive way vs. a disengaged attendee.  This will help increase the ROI of the event.  Why just throw money away to check off that you had an event?  With professional event planning help or with some extra time and effort you can create an event that keeps your attendees engaged.
Ways to enage your attendees depend on multiple factors that include what type of an event it is, the purpose of the event and the demographics of the attendees.  Below are a couple of different events and some ideas of how to keep your attendees engaged.

Event:  An employee multi day meeting – ideas to engage your attendees:

  • Use an interesting venue that is different than expected – museums, sports facilities, farms, unique restaurants, coworking spaces, outdoor parks…
  • Meeting room set up plan with multiple options for seating – use of chairs, tables, sofas, bean bags…that make it comfortable and conducive for conversations
  • Agenda that is set up with shorter more impactful presentations with more breaks
  • Use of engaging speakers that encourage audience interaction – use of chat boxes to make audience interaction of large groups easier and fun
  • Send out meeting materials ahead of time for attendees to come prepared to the meeting with questions and be able to contribute
  • Include wellness in your agenda – offer a morning yoga or meditation class, an after lunch group stretch, an afternoon walk outdoors…
  • Have a gratitude board where attendees can post notes that will be read during the meeting
  • Have opportunities to win prizes by being involved
  • Include motivational TED talks with opportunity for conversation afterward of how to apply to their jobs
  • Smaller group breakdowns for experiential learning of a new skill or futher development of a skill – work in teams to solve problems
  • Team and team bonding activities that could include a cook off, different games, outdoor activity, local experience, community volunteering…
  • Comedy roast done by attendees
  • Different lunch and learn opportunities that attendees can choose from
  • Opportunities to network with one another

Event:  A multiple client appreciation reception and dinner – many of the items above can also apply but here are some additional ideas to engage your attendees:

  • Encourage social media with a set up hashtag for posting pictures and have a special photo booth or background with brand identification for photo taking.  Have a best photo contest with a prize for the winner
  • Have an entertainer such as a magician or illusionist work the audience and tables – it will amuse the attendees and encourage conversation among people who may not know one another
  • Have table topic cards at each table to encourage people to have conversation with each other even if they don’t know one another
  • Include music with local flair, a dance band or have a dueling piano show
  • Include games to play and opportunities to win prizes
There are endless ways to engage your attendees it is just important that you do so.
Engage your employees for a more memorable and positive experience.  It will help to keep your employees happy, retain them and set them up to better learn and remember the meeting material.
Engage your customers and clients to keep them happy and impressed with doing business with you.
Make sure your event has multiple ways for involvement and interaction of attendees for an engaging memorable experience.  A professional planner can help with ideas that make sense for your business, purpose and attendee demographic.  You don’t want your attendees to leave you or forget about you!

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