Events7 Event Engagement Ideas to Win Your Attendees in 2023 & Beyond

7 Event Engagement Ideas to Win Your Attendees in 2023 & Beyond


Event engagement is the fuel that drives successful events. It improves attendance, networking, learning, lead generation, and conversions. But attendees’ expectations have changed a lot during the past few years. Capturing their attention looks different now than it did a few years ago.

So, what exactly are you doing to keep audiences immersed in your events? With all the new tools, are you lost in the options? Creating events that inspire and delight isn’t as difficult as it may seem. But it does require a change in mindset for some.

This article shares seven event engagement ideas that can make the biggest impact through content delivery, networking, and tech innovation. You’ll get proven tips and tools to keep audience engagement high throughout your event and after the last session ends.

What exactly is event engagement?

Engagement” conveys an emotional involvement. It draws you in and holds your attention.

At an event, engagement takes many forms. It can be about connections among stakeholders or between attendees and your brand.

Eventgoers can get absorbed in something they watch, like an inspiring keynote. Or they can engage actively. For example: participate in gamified workshops or laugh with friends at a lively opening reception.

How has event engagement changed in the past few years?

Of course, engagement has played a vital role in events for ages. So, what’s different now?

Digital innovation accelerated during a two-year break in onsite events due to the pandemic. As a result, attendees became more tech-savvy. They learned to host digital meetings. And they joined the conversation using virtual engagement tools like live Q&A’s, video conferencing, and chat.

With the pandemic in our rear-view window, in-person events are back with new digital features.

Attendees today are more sophisticated and have higher expectations for audience engagement.

 

7 creative event engagement ideas for in-person and virtual audiences

These ideas below will help you meet – no, exceed – attendee expectations and deliver experiences that:

  • Educate
  • Delight
  • Support eventgoers’ business goals
  • Bring them in on the action
  • Offer plenty of choices
  • Evoke an emotional connection
  • Promote attendee engagement even after the last session ends

1. Combine content with networking.

Events are all about making connections. So, keep networking front and center, starting with content.

Top-down presentations limit engagement. Instead, get attendees in on the action. Strategies for engaging the audience as participants include:

Fun Activations

Who doesn’t love Lego? At events, they present fun opportunities to build relationships.

For example, Skift reports the Experiential Marketing Summit 2023 hosted a Brick Building Activation Challenge on the show floor. Participants received heaps of Legos and a “client” brief. Then they worked in pairs to create small-scale projects to meet specifications in 30 minutes or less.

What do Legos have to do with event experience?

The Brick Building Challenge pumped up audience engagement and highlighted conference themes. Like experiential marketers, attendees collaborated to meet fixed requirements and found plenty of creative ways to achieve project goals.

Interactive workshops

Workshops bring people together for small-group activities. They turn events into conversations instead of one-way presentations.

You can offer stand-alone workshops or use them to fill slower times of your main event with valuable content.

Make these gatherings fun for participants. They can expand their networks with these live event engagement ideas:

  • Let AI matchmaking connect attendees who share interests.
  • Offer a choice of workshops that address their biggest challenges.
  • Share valuable tips to help participants meet their goals.
  • Provide time for them to connect with potential customers and partners.
  • Use networking tools, so they can upload their profiles and stay in touch after the workshop.
  • Consider gamifying sessions and offering your products or those of your sponsors as prizes.
  • Learn from participants. Glean insights to spike engagement at future events.

2. Add entertainment to the mix.

Entertaining content enables attendees to take a mental breather and recharge. They’ll feel more energized when your other programming resumes.

Hire a popular band, DJ, stand-up comic, magician, or other performers to rev up event engagement. Consider live demonstrations, too, such as cooking, craft, or mixology demos.

Silent headphones add to the fun. Attendees can blast their favorite tunes as loud as they like. And no one will need to shout over the noise.

 

3. Keep eyes on the stage and screens.

These tactics below also keep post-pandemic attention levels high.

  • Leverage live polls as audience engagement tools. Pre-event polls help you uncover what matters most to your audience. These insights help ensure panel discussions stay on track.

 

During your event, polls let you know if you’re hitting the mark, so you can make changes on the fly. Post-event polls can improve your program for the future.

  • Use performers, videos, and surprises between presentations to keep eyes on the stage.
  • Choose and prep moderators with care. The best ones keep panel discussions moving forward.
  • Wow with broadcast-quality production. Collaborate with an audio-visual vendor for in-person and virtual events. Great production partners level up set designs and venue spaces. They also transform live streams to hold the attention of online audiences.

 

 

4. Enliven your event with a social media wall.

Social media walls are feeds of user-generated content from social channels. They display updates in real-time on a giant digital screen or on websites.

Attendees can share their photos and videos with your event hashtags and get featured on your event’s social wall.

In addition to ratcheting up engagement, use this innovative tool to:

  • Expand event reach
  • Reward attendees by displaying their content during your event
  • Create sponsorship opportunities for brands that want to put their updates in the limelight

 

5. Energize with wellness breaks.

Sitting in back-to-back learning sessions all day reduces attention spans. Keep attendee engagement high by breaking up your agenda with wellness activities like these below:

  • Yoga
  • Zumba
  • Tai chi
  • Tabata workouts
  • Walking meetings or sessions

To provide more R&R for the brain, you can also offer:

  • Meditation sessions and massage stations that melt away stress
  • Introvert-friendly spaces. Extroverts love group activities packed with social interaction. But these pursuits can leave others feeling drained.

So, create quiet spaces, such as lounge areas with soft seating, natural lighting, and soothing ocean sounds. Attendees can relax, recharge, and return to learning and networking sessions ready to re-engage.

6. Take engagement into a new dimension.

Want to treat your attendees to an immersive experience they won’t forget?

For example, hit a home run at a virtual World Series game. Or meet with prospects while touring the Louvre in Paris. Or at the ancient city of Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains of Peru.

You can do all this and more with metaverse events.

The metaverse is a network of 3-D virtual worlds that use newer technologies like virtual and augmented reality. In the metaverse, people interact through their avatars. These digital twins can chat, hug, and high-five each other to build connections.

McKinsey & Company reports 95% of business leaders expect the metaverse will impact their industry positively within five to 10 years.

Explore the possibilities of meta events, including:

  • New forms of digital event engagement
  • Innovative sponsorship opportunities
  • Improvements to sustainability programs
  • Inclusivity by welcoming people who can’t attend in person due to health, financial, accessibility, or other constraints

7. Keep adding value.

Your main event may be over. But attendee engagement can continue.

Events create a treasure trove of original content. A post-event engagement strategy helps you make the most of your investment. For example:

  • Edit content for gated, on-demand, or paid consumption.
  • Continue the conversation via your mobile app. Modern event apps are packed with interactive tools for in-person and virtual meetings. Speakers can follow up on hot topics each month. That way, they’ll deepen relationships with attendees.
  • Host networking meetups regularly, too. Match attendees for mini breakout sessions addressing their interests and challenges. You’ll add value long after your main event ends.

Top Takeaways: Master the art of event engagement.

Now you have a slew of in-person and virtual event engagement ideas, including:

  • Provide content and networking opportunities that help attendees achieve their goals.
  • Capture and keep their attention with fun activations, entertainment, and tech innovations.
  • Create event communities that address participants’ top interests.

Make the most of these best practices. You’ll keep your engagement engine humming for event success in 2023 and beyond.



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