For modern event marketers, pulling off a great event takes more than selecting a great venue, good food and an impressive speaker lineup. Production and logistics details also play a major role in an event’s success.The challenge for any event prof is coming up with ideas to keep events exciting and engaging.
Fresh out of ideas for your next event? We spoke with five event professionals about their top tricks for adding that much-needed “wow” factor to engage attendees, from offbeat musical acts to lighthearted competitions.
Mix in a Fun Group Activity
“The key is to facilitate an interactive, fun activity that encourages attendees to let loose and get to know one another. Cocktail-making lessons, pottery throwing and instructor-led painting sessions are a few activities I’ve had success with in the past. Getting people together to laugh and have fun encourages everyone to let their guard down, which always leads to a much more positive experience and attitude throughout the event.” — Chloe Mitchell, director of talent relations, The Social Select
Appeal to Attendees’ Competitive Spirit
“One quick energizer we organize are on-stage, 15-minute challenges held between speakers to spark the group’s interest level. One game is called “The Great Emoji Race.” The emcee flashes her phone number on the big screen. Then, with the touch of a button, four emojis fall into place on the screen, similar to how a slot machine operates. To win prizes, attendees must text the emcee those emojis in the same order.” — Lisa Jennings, chief experience officer, Wildly Different
Pay Heed, The Mindfulness Trend Is In
“Our clients often want mindful, evocative experiences. The 1 Hotel Group in New York has launched a “Mindful Meeting” program with delicious farm stand-fresh, healthy food for snacks or full menus, and eco-friendly office supplies. For corporate retreats, we are seeing explosive growth in relaxed venues with evocative decor and amenities. The theme: “Contemplate, Innovate, Create.'” — Karen Shackman, president of Shackman Associates, a New York-based corporate meeting firm.
Add a Jolt of Local Culture
“Research shows that people do not engage the awareness part of their brains until something happens that they did not anticipate. Give attendees the unexpected. If your general session opens at 8:30 a.m., hire a marching band or a gospel choir to perform. People will pay attention to the stage, instead of just staring at their screens.” — Jeff O’Hara, president, AlliedPRA New Orleans
Get the Band Back Together
“A few years ago, I saw a segment on CBS Sunday Morning about ‘junk jamming’ in which a percussionist created music out of junk — a rusted car fender, old tires, discarded glass bottles, etc. We realized this could be fun for a client that wanted an original off-site experience. It was also a good metaphor for getting the company’s marketers to think about creative, new uses for a well-established brand. We hired a percussionist who gave a lesson in music creation, and then asked the 80 executives to ‘junk jam.’ Because it was so fun (and the music was great), many executives spontaneously started dancing — a true ‘tribal’ company experience!” — Bryan Mattimore, cofounder, Growth Engine
We hope these ideas will help inspire your next event. And if that event has already happened, check out these tips from the DoubleDutch marketing team on hacking it for future content!