6 Ways To Engage Attendees At Live Events & Conferences

PMC Boston 2017When you organize or plan an onsite professional event or conference, success shouldn’t just measured by the number of attendees that walk through the door, but also by the audience engagement levels – before, during and after the event. Even though you have the numbers, doesn’t mean your event was a smash hit if the audience wasn’t engaged. Which is why attendee engagement is a key metric to measure the success of any live event or conference.

An audience’s level of engagement is a measure of their involvement, commitment and satisfaction with your event, which means, as an Organizer, it’s your job to make sure that your audience walks away with a great deal of value from the event. Here are some tips on how to increase audience engagement at your next live event or conference.

1. Create a Community Around Your Events

Get people talking about the event by creating event groups on social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn or Google+ that will get attendees excited about the upcoming event. Start discussions leading up to it so that you can easily continue them during the live event and beyond. To keep them engaged within these groups, create stunning visuals like videos, presentations and pictures that help reinforce key messages the event will feature.

2. Get Social

In addition to the group event on social media, you’ll want to hype up the live event on all your social media channels, posting cool visuals that help reinforce points the event will cover. Also, create a hashtag so that attendees can use before, during and after the live event. You might also want to create incentives for people to share your messages by giving out free products or even free tickets!

3. Host Special Networking Sessions or Loud Tables

Many people attend live events to network, so making sure you create an environment and incorporate time that allows to do so during your next live event can help keep attendees engaged. Create a special breakfast networking session before the event or host a cocktail hour after the live event or in between speakers or during breaks!

4. Speaker Presentations

Speakers and sessions are one of the key reasons people attend your live events, but visuals are what keeps them engaged. No one likes sitting through a boring presentation. Ever. Encourage your Speaker to include images, graphics, videos, real-time polls and any other creative assets in their presentations to capture attendees’ attention and keep them interested throughout the entire session. Then, present them with a real-time survey towards the end of the session or as they exit the room.

5. Booth Design & Aesthetics

The event organizer can do their part in driving attendance but, as an Exhibitor, it’s your responsibility to attract them to visit your booth. Booth engagement really starts at a distance – before the person arrives at your booth. It’s about design, layout, lighting, aesthetics i.e. the physical qualities of your booth aka your presence. There’s a wave of decision-making going on in the few seconds leading up to the person deciding to visit your booth. So, make sure your booth has an appealing design, is well lit and features a positive vibe to attract and intrigue visitors from a distance.

6. Interactive Games, Fun Trivia, Exclusive Content, Quizzes and More

Once the person arrives at your booth, it’s all about your products and people. Their energy. Their passion. Although some people thrive in live environments, most find themselves in an awkward, uncomfortable situation. It’s the responsibility of your employees to make everyone feel welcome. Staff it just right with friendly employees who are willing to go the extra mile to greet people and make them feel comfortable. Then, use interactive games, fun trivia, exclusive content, quizzes, etc. as a way to drive engagement. Feed them content based on dwell-time, profile and interest using Beacons (check out the Exhibitor video here). Reward them with Amazon or Starbucks gift cards just for playing. Use tablets (iPads work best!) so you can engage with 4-6 people at the same time. And, each person can do this at their own pace without feeling pressured.

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