Increase Conference Engagement
By Phillip Gerrish, 26 July 2013 –
Engage your delegates for maximum return. Promoting engagement is key to conferences. The more that you make people listen, think and act the more fulfilling their experience. Work out a way to elicit a response and you're on to a winner. Here are some creative ideas delegates enjoy taking part in:
Test their knowledge with quizzes
Quizzes are popular with conference speakers and producers, but it's surprising how often these aren't used to their maximum potential. Many corporations favour asking delegates about industry wide developments, specific company growth, and other facts & figures but surprisingly can neglect notable events, achievements, and more celebratory aspects. Quizzes are a great opportunity to unveil surprising answers. These 'trick' questions can help you expose things your delegates should be proud of, such as unexpectedly high turnover or a dramatic increase in customer satisfaction. Whatever the message of your conference, choose questions with answers which back up that message.
Harvest their ideas with mini tasks
These days, delegates come to conferences prepared to participate. Gone are the days when they expect to sit back and watch a Powerpoint presentation. Set them tasks from the off. The best way is to present a problem and before giving them your solution to it ask them to suggest their own. Depending on the size of your group and the venue, tasks which involve getting up and moving around are unexpectedly welcome.
Gauge their opinions with surveys
Let your delegates contribute their thoughts by providing laptops, tablets, or keypads they can use to complete surveys as you go. With some software, such as Messenger by The Challenge Factor, you can collate this data as it comes in and feed it back to the group. This is a great way to take a conference one step further and build on the responses you get.
Make them work together
Collaboration and teamwork are words we hear at conferences all the time, so to get your point across demonstrate their importance instead. Set your delegates a task which is impossible for them to complete on their own - anything requiring more than two hands. For teams used to working together this is a piece of cake as they will instinctively help each other out, but you'll notice those not used to teamwork try and manage it by themselves.
From frenetic activities to deep discussion, choosing the right content style for your messages, delegates and what you want to achieve is key. Start by thinking about what your aim is for the day - what you want your delegates to take away, and how you can give it to them. Until you work that out, there's no point in booking speakers and venues, scheduling activities, choosing staging, sorting out name tags, or anything else.