When hosting an event, whether it be a conference, meeting, seminar or workshop, the key to success is engaging your audience. Remember, you’re there to teach and share your knowledge with others within your industry. The best teachers out there entertain as well as inform, they make their audience laugh whilst making something complex sound simple.
Follow our top tips for keeping your audience engaged…
Keep your content relevant
You could be using the latest high-tech gadgets or book the most famous speaker out there, but if the content isn’t helpful or relevant in any way, your audience will lose interest. Your delegates might be travelling a long way for your event, so they want to be introduced to upcoming trends and expect to have their questions answered. When planning your content, think about who your audience is - what do they want to see? Once you’ve established this, you can then build your content around it.
Cater for everyone
Everyone learns differently: visual learners prefer to see images, diagrams, graphs etc., auditory learners prefer to listen to a speaker rather than see or read, reading/writing learners find text-based tools more powerful and kinesthetic learners prefer to get moving and take in more information by doing. When looking to cater for all types of learners, consider hosting a multi-day event, as this gives you a number of days to offer something for everyone.
Keep it interactive
Encourage your audience to get involved. There are plenty of ways to keep your event interactive, from hosting a Q & A to passing them the mic and giving them a voice, or even include quizzes and games. Ask your audience about their experiences and encourage them to share their opinions.
Interacting with the crowd enhances audience engagement and grabs their attention for longer. If you’re hosting a lecture which requires your audience to sit and listen for a long period, consider offering a related workshop afterward in smaller groups, giving your audience the chance to ask questions and discuss the topic with others.
Book compelling speakers
When it comes to booking your speakers, do your research and look at reviews. You want your audience to feel inspired and gripped by your speaker. Again, think about your audience. Is your industry very formal and professional, or more creative and hands-on? Book a speaker who matches that style. For more advice, read our blog on what to consider when choosing a keynote speaker.
Use an event hashtag
Prior to your event, create an event hashtag and use this to promote it. This gives your audience an insight into what to expect. Encourage them to use this throughout your event to share images, experiences, feedback etc. Keep it short and sweet and remember to use it on social, blogs and signage. Hopefully, your audience will feel inspired to take lots of photographs and get involved online, which keeps them engaged and also helps promote your brand and event!
Change up the room layout
Think about the nature of your event. Do you expect your audience to have discussion time? Will there be audience participation? Making it difficult for your audience to get involved could be a little demotivating and cause them to lose interest. Ensure your seating arrangements fit the schedule as an engaging crowd is what makes your event a success, and following these tips will help you achieve that. One more piece of advice - get prepared early, as speakers and venues can get booked up quickly and you don’t want to miss out!