Engineerica Conferences and Events 5 Ideas to Increase Your Attendee Engagement

5 Ideas to Increase Your Attendee Engagement

attendee and engagementAs an organizer or planner of large-scale gatherings such as conferences or meetings, your primary goal is to create memorable and engaging event experiences for attendees. The success of your event hinges on a high level of attendee engagement, which directly influences satisfaction, networking, and the likelihood of repeat participation.enhance your attendee and event engagement

In this article, we’ll explore five event engagement ideas that will help you elevate attendee engagement to new heights and leave a lasting impression on your audience, as well as tools that will allow you to measure that engagement. No matter your event type and industry, you’re sure to find some ideas here that you can incorporate to bring your event to the next level.

1. Leverage Event Technology to Foster Interactive Experiences

In today’s digital age, event technology plays a crucial role in enhancing attendee engagement. By incorporating interactive tools and platforms such as the types listed below, you can create immersive experiences that captivate your audience from the moment they step into your event.

  • Event Mobile Apps: A dedicated mobile app for your event, such as Conference Tracker, provides attendees with easy access to schedules, speaker information, exhibitor details, and real-time updates. You can also integrate interactive features like live polling, Q&A sessions, and networking functionalities to encourage active participation. Try Free Trial of our Event Techology App
  • Virtual Reality (VR) and Augmented Reality (AR): Embrace the power of VR and ART to provide attendees with unique experiences, such as virtual tours, interactive demos, and educational sessions. These technologies can add an element of excitement and novelty, leaving a lasting impression on your audience.
  • Gamification: Infuse your event with gamified activities to drive attendee engagement. Create challenges, quizzes, or scavenger hunts that require participants to explore the event space, interact with sponsors, and network with other attendees. Offer rewards and incentives to encourage participation, fostering a sense of friendly competition and excitement.

When considering what event technology to use, make sure you’re taking into account accessibility. For example, if using an app, make sure it’s accessible through both Android and iOS devices, or that a browser-based alternative is available. You should also make sure your event technology tools are accessible by attendees who have disabilities, and that anyone who is unable to use these tools has an available alternative experience.

2. Curate Compelling Content and Engaging Speakers

Your event’s presentations serve as the backbone of attendee engagement. To ensure a captivated audience, focus on curating diverse and compelling content that aligns with the interest and needs of your attendees. Try to keep these elements in mind as you build your event schedule and select proposals or reach out to presenters.

  • A Diverse Speaker Lineup: Aim to bring together a diverse group of speakers from various backgrounds, industries, and perspectives. A mix of well-known experts and rising stars can attract a broader audience and create a rich, thought-provoking experience.
  • Interactive Sessions: Encourage speakers to deliver engaging presentations by incorporating interactive elements. These can include audience polls, live Q&A sessions, and small group discussions. Attendees appreciate opportunities to actively participate and share their thoughts during sessions.
  • Unconventional Formats: Experiment with different presentation formats, such as panel discussions, fireside chats, and lightning talks. Mixing up the style of presentations keeps attendees engaged and adds a dynamic touch to your event.

If your event solicits proposals from potential speakers, consider asking on your application what ideas speakers have for making their sessions more engaging. This can get them thinking about engagement well in advance, rather than trying to shoehorn it into their presentations closer to the event date.

3. Facilitate Meaningful Networking Opportunitiesnetworking and event engagement

Networking is most likely one of the main reasons your attendees are at your event. Creating a conducive networking environment can significantly enhance attendee engagement and satisfaction. Here are some ways you can do it:

  • Networking Lounges: Set up dedicated areas where attendees can gather, network, and engage in casual conversations on their own schedule. Comfortable seating, charging stations, and refreshments can further encourage use of these spaces. You’ll want to make sure these spaces are easy to get to and relatively free of distractions from other event activities.
  • Icebreaker Activities: Plan icebreaker activities and team-building exercises to help attendees break the ice and initiate conversations. These activities can range from simple icebreaker questions during registration to interactive games that foster collaboration among participants. While many people may find icebreakers cheesy in general, this strategy can be a good way to help get people talking and thinking before an activity starts. Just make sure you and your facilitators utilize questions and activities that are appropriate for your audience.
  • Matchmaking Tools: Questionnaires during the registration process and other event technology tools can help create and recommend potential connections between attendees, based on their shared industries and interests. This is a good way to help attendees connect with like-minded peers before they even set foot on your event floor.

Remember to keep privacy in mind when incorporating any of these ideas, but don’t be afraid to ask attendees to provide some fun information about themselves as well as their social media pages, and ask for their permission to share that information with other attendees so that you can provide them a more meaningful networking experience.

4. Incorporate Immersive Experiences

Experiential zones can captivate your attendees’ senses, elevating your event’s engagement levels significantly, and creating an experience that attendees will continue to talk about long after the event is over. But what exactly are experiential zones? These are ways of engaging your audience beyond the typical conference lecture format. The right ones for you will depend on many factors, including your budget, audience, and the subject of your event, but here are a few examples.

  • Virtual Exhibitor Showcases: While COVID had a significant impact on large scale events, there are many lessons to be taken from it on how we can adapt live events to the times. Virtual exhibit halls allow attendees to explore products, services, and innovations from sponsors and exhibitors. Allow and encourage your exhibitors to incorporate multimedia content, such as videos and 360-degree product views, to enhance the virtual experience. They can be an alternative to physical exhibit halls, or they can augment that physical experience.
  • Hands-On Workshops: Organize hands-on workshops and interactive demonstrations that offer practical knowledge and skills. These workshops can cover a wide range of topics, from industry-specific skills to creative arts and technology.
  • Sensory Engagement: Engage all five senses of your attendees by incorporating sensory experiences throughout the event. For example, you might offer a unique selection of food and beverages, live music performances, or art installations to leave a lasting impact on participants.

Like with the event technological tools mentioned above, you’ll want to make sure anything you do here is as accessible as possible for attendees of various ability levels and with various technological access levels, and provide alternatives when necessary and possible.

5. Solicit Attendee Feedback and Post-Event Engagement

The journey of attendee engagement shouldn’t end once your event does. Seeking feedback from your attendees and fostering post-event engagement can strengthen your relationship with them, encourage them to re-register the following year, and boost word-of-mouth to recruit more attendees, sponsors, facilitators, exhibitors, and volunteers for future events. Here are some ways you can make that happen.

  • Post-Event Surveys: Send out well-structured post-event surveys to collect feedback from attendees. Ask about their overall experience, favorite sessions, areas of improvement, and their expectations for future events. These should be in addition to surveys that will solicit feedback about specific sessions during the event, and should be easy for them to find and fill out. Consider incentivizing attendees to fill out surveys. For example, every session-specific and overall survey they fill out might enter them in a drawing for a gift card.
  • Engaging Content Post-Event: Keep attendees engaged after the event by sharing valuable content related to the event’s topics and themes. This content can be in the form of blog posts, articles, videos, or webinars, providing ongoing value to your audience. Your event’s speakers may be willing to provide some of this additional content, either in exchange for additional perks or compensation, or for the opportunity to advertise their services.
  • Year-Round Community Building: Create a year-round community platform where attendees can continue to network, share insights, and engage with industry experts. Active community engagement will keep your event alive in attendees’ minds and promote future event participation.

These ideas may require more man hours than you’re used to committing, or that you or your current team are able to commit. But if you’re able to find the extra hands, they can be well worth it. Considering seeking volunteers among the attendee list, as your previous, happy attendees are truly your best advocates.

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By implementing some of these ideas, you can increase attendee engagement and create unforgettable experiences for participants at your conferences and large-scale meetings. Utilizing event technology, curating compelling content, fostering networking opportunities, incorporating immersive experiences, and maintaining post-event engagement will not only enhance attendee satisfaction, but will also elevate your event’s reputation. No matter what kind of event you run and no matter the industry, you’re likely to be able to incorporate at least some of these ideas. Remember, like with any customer, it’s easier to engage and keep previous attendees who can become loyal advocates for your events, than it is to recruit new ones. Our team at Conference Tracker can help you find the right solutions to engage your attendees, making it even easier to implement these ideas.

Here Are Some FAQs About Event & Attendee Engagement

What Does “Event Engagement” Really Mean?

Event engagement is so much more than traditional presentations and typical activities at large-scale events. It’s incorporating cutting-edge tools and technologies to create a truly unique experience that will keep your attendees talking throughout the year.

How Do You Keep an Event Engaging?

Event engagement should start well before your event begins, and keep going well after it ends. Use social engagement tools to get registrants engaged with each other and excited about your event’s offerings. During the event, offer a variety of activities and activity types to keep attendees at your event. After, continue to engage them by offering opportunities for them to discuss the happenings of that year’s event, and contribute to ideas for next year.

How Do You Measure Event Engagement?

One great way to measure event engagement is from re-registrations. How many registrants from the most recent year have committed to registering for the next event? How quickly are your registrations growing from year to year? If you offer the ability for attendees to register for next year’s event during the current one, that can really help. Another factor is attendee satisfaction. Surveys can show you how well your strategies worked, especially if they are taken during the event, when the methods are fresh in their minds.

How Do You Improve Engagement in Online Meetings?

Online meetings require many different strategies than in-person ones, but the good news is that they often come with built-in tools and metrics for engaging attendees and measuring that engagement in real time. For example, if your numbers show that attendees are checking out after about ten minutes, considering having polls, discussion questions, or other engagement activities at about every ten minute mark.

What Tools Help Improve Event Engagement?

Using a variety of tools such as apps, giveaways, activities, and varied session types are your best bet for engaging attendees. Don’t rely on just one or two methods to be your “golden goose.” Also, don’t discount tools that can help you measure that engagement as quickly as possible, so you can try to make adjustments in real time if need be.

Rachel Cook

Rachel Cook is a Customer Success Manager for Accudemia with Engineerica Systems. Prior to her time at Engineerica, she was a learning center manager at Hillsborough Community College and Florida SouthWestern State College. She loves being able to tap into her experience to help Accudemia users maximize their systems and more efficiently track the goings-on of their centers. When not working, Rachel enjoys writing and spending time with her family.

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