In the constant quest to better engage with delegates, event planners will always be on the lookout for ways in which they can can get those in attendance to stand up and take notice. To do this, you may be thinking about the venue, the speakers, the menu, the technology that is utilised etc., but are you thinking about the way in which all of this is employed?
One way in which many events fall down is by being overly corporate. To combat this, have you thought about what you can learn from social events when planning your next conference? Thinking more like a party planner and less like an event planner can resonate with your audience. With this mindset you can help your delegates to have more fun whilst attending your event and enjoy what you have to show them. To help you out with this, below we have taken a look at certain elements from social events and looked out how they can be translated to the corporate events landscape.
Games have been a mainstay of parties for centuries. As a child, there would almost be disappointment if you went to a party and there wasn’t games to be taking part in. Now, we know your delegates will all be adults, but that doesn’t mean you should write off playing games.
Games are an excellent way of encouraging interaction. The concept of gamification is increasingly being used all over the world as part of business strategies and during events to encourage audience interaction and engagement. Gamification is essentially the use of gaming logic in non-gaming environments. Drawing on the key elements of gameplay including challenge and reward, gamification is way of engaging your delegates whilst unleashing their competitive spirit at the same time. Gamification allows you to present your content in a unique way and allows you to customise the gameplay to suit your audience or target market.
Taking it back to basics, think about the party games you used to play as a child and consider the ways in which you can adapt them to communicate your message or help your delegates learn about your products or services. While if you want to go beyond this, consider the ways in which you can utilise technology in gamification. One way could perhaps to be to make use of your delegates’ mobile devices by incorporating gamification into your mobile app.
Why gamification works is because it exploits people’s’ competitive spirits. People often have a competitive streak and this desire to win can be put to good use during your events. If you offer people a challenge, they will participate because they want to win. Using this can encourage others to participate; so it is an effective way of capturing attention.
Utilise social media
Platforms such as Facebook and Twitter are used to great effect for social events, so why not capitalise on this for your next conference?
Through the use of social channels, you can reach out to those potentially interested in your event, connect with those definitely interested in your event and update those who have attended an event of yours in the past. In addition to this, social media allows you to share event content, provide followers with previews of what your event will consist of and keep attendees updated.
We briefly mentioned the venue above, but before now while you may have been looking at venues and judging them based on their business facilities, why not take a step back and consider the venues usually used for parties for your next conference?
When looking to find a venue, consider the most obscure and off the wall venues, don’t disregard them. While hosting your next conference in the conference room of a hotel close to major motorway links may seem practical, it is also unappealing and uninspiring. And if people think your venue is unappealing and uninspiring, the chances are they will think what you have to say is as well. There is no point in crafting captivating content, hiring excellent speakers and having an excellent product or service to push, if it is all being done in a drab conference room which features the motorway as a backdrop.
Instead think of somewhere a little different. Think about places where people would be excited to go to, places where they would want to tell their friends and colleagues about. Theme parks, zoos, football grounds and nightclubs are just a few of the places to think about using to host your next conference.
If you are reading this and thinking “my conference doesn’t have a theme’, then that is exactly the problem. A theme gives you something to work to. Themes make parties cool and they have the potential to make your conference cool too. That is, if they are done well.
Think about the best parties you have been too and think about how the theme made it work. The venue, the music, the food, what people wear – when a party has a theme, all of these elements have a certain uniformity to them. It’s this uniformity that can give your conference a certain appeal. Choose a theme and work everything around that. Look at how your content can be delivered in a way that references the theme. Include the theme everywhere, from the initial event invitation to way that the venue is decorated. With the right theme, you will make your conference into an incredibly appealing event. Just some of the theme ideas to borrow from party planners include the casino, the disco, Hollywood glamour, masquerade balls, Alice in Wonderland, Parisian café.
The food served will be integral to having a theme at your conference. Think about how you can match the food to the theme. Do your research and make your delegates feel like they are part of an experience, rather than simply just attending another conference. A well-thought out menu that makes delegates feel part of something special will really get people talking.
Working on behalf of Conference Care in the UK, Dean Ronnie writes regularly about conferences and events. He is particularly interested in the ways in which technology and the latest innovations continue to dramatically change the events industry and the ways in which we meet. Follow Dean on Twitter @OfficialDeanR