1. How to actively engage your guest?
Your participants bring a lot of experience and knowledge to your event. Use the wisdom of your crowd. Challenge your audience in a simple way:
– Prepare one relevant main question.
– Give the participants some time to think of good input for the discussion.
> Give them pen and paper to write down some of their ideas.
> Then ask them to discuss their ideas 1-to-1 or in small groups.
– Finally ask some participants to share their ideas with the group.
– You can visualise the ideas on screen in a live mindmap or in a live cartoon.
– Send everyone a short report after the event.
The main question needs to be relevant to everyone. Some examples:
– How can we add more value for our clients?
– What is the biggest opportunity at this moment?
– How can we be sustainable?
2. Do speakers play a part?
Most professional speakers use a lot of interaction to make their story stick. As an organiser you can ask your speakers to add interaction. Just ask them for their ideas or think with them. Offer them some possibilities, give them examples of session formats that work (see below, question 4).
3. Do you use technology?
When you ask people for their solutions it is great when they can see that their ideas will be used.
I use technology to send all ideas to the screen. Sendsteps (http://www.sendsteps.com) is a powerpoint plug-in which enables speakers to collect all thoughts from the audience. Every participant can send his ideas to the screen via the smartphone.
In addition I use professional visualisation. A live cartoonist turns ideas into drawings. Those are displayed on the big screen. At other occassions I work with a live mindmapper, who adds structure to the live brainstorm.
I love to work with the artists of the wall-report. Together they create a man-sized work of art. They capture all ideas in quotes and drawings.
4. What sort of activities can you do to engage your guests?
Session format 1: The Challenge:
– set up the meetingroom in cabaret-style: the delegates sit at tables in small groups of five or six.
– you ask the speaker to introduce the subject, then present a challenge to the small groups.
– the challenge may be a business case or a vision for the future.
– the speaker then collects some thoughts and wraps up the session.
Session format 2: Bodyvoting:
Another easy way is to use bodyvoting. The speaker introduces the subject. Then all participants are asked to stand up. They answer some questions by taking a position in the room. One side is 0%, the other side is 100% The speaker asks the participants to reflect on their answers.
Many more of these session formats can be found in my whitepaper: http://www.acteurs.nl/pdf/theeventnoonewouldwanttomiss.pdf