dateIn Wednesday's post, we examined how event engagement is like dating and the four tips to try and engage your attendees prior to your meeting or conference. As you may recall, engagement cannot be forced, it has to flow organically and naturally throughout your event. However, it is important at all times to put your "best foot forward".

Here are four tips to help you along the way:

Engagement Tip #1: It All Starts with "Hello" 

Attendees are evaluating and absorbing your event from the time they get on the airplane until the time they land back home. The part of the meeting that is least appealing  to attendees is the registration area for the conference because the lines are usually long and there isn't much for attendees to do other than check messages on their cell phone. But what if you could make it  more interesting by doing one or more of the following:

  • Allow for self-service check-in via computer kiosks where attendees can print their badge, itinerary and be provided with destination information. These kiosks can be available 24 hours a day and you can position one right in the hotel lobby allowing for easy access when your attendees check into the facility. 
  • Volunteers can work the line and introduce themselves to attendees and encourage them to call if any questions arise about the conference. 
  • It is important that everyone greets each attendee cheerfully and with a smile. 
  • Digital Signage and Video Walls can provide a source of knowledge and entertainment about the conference as attendees stand in long lines.

Engagement Tip #2: Make Every Moment Count

Rent iPads and encourage attendees to tweet, blog and post while they are at the conference. Create a Twitter hashtag and ask attendees to post comments or questions about the content, venue and city.  

Encourage them to take photos from their smartphones via Instagram and video from Vine. Post them up on a video wall rental unit and ask attendees to vote on the photo and video clip of the day. Have the live Twitter feed posted on the wall. This presents a visual depiction of your conference and can get attendees talking about it. 

Engagement Tip #3: No Forced Marches

Nothing is more of a nightmare for a shy, introverted attendee than putting them in a public speaking position. Making them say their name and occupation in front of a large group or making them share the findings from the table discussion is not what they want. So, make it easy for them to opt-out by allowing engagement on their terms, not yours. Greg Fuson from Artful Engagement stated the following about interaction, "Don't automatically go to interaction and say 'This is going to happen because we're not going to have speakers who just stand up and lecture at you the whole time.'" Bottom line: Make the interactions easy to opt-in or -out of and make them natural, not forced. 

Engagement Tip #4: Respect the Time Zones

If you publish that a session is 30- or 60-minutes in length, keep to it…but allow for extended interaction with the presenter. It seems in today's world, the shorter presentations are the most effective with 20-minutes being the most preferred. But whatever your format is, start and end the presentation on time and make sure your speakers stick around. 

AV Event Solutions, now part of the SmartSource Rentals family, wants to work with you to make your next meeting or event very exciting and engaging! Call us today at 888.249.4903 to schedule a date! We look forward to talking to you!