We all remember that one kid in the classroom who simply couldn’t sit still or pay attention. A teacher’s worst nightmare, this child represented a constant struggle for engagement and focus.
But as adults in the corporate world, the same struggle for engagement can often be seen in presentations or events.
You’ve spent countless hours and thousands of dollars planning and preparing for your corporate event. Don’t let lackluster engagement be the downfall of all that hard work. This guide will cover the essential elements for engaging your audience and ensuring a successful event.
What Is Audience Engagement At A Corporate Event?
Before trying to engage your audience, take a step back to understand what audience engagement means. Simply put, audience engagement is the level of interest and participation your attendees have during your event or presentation. For many event organizers, it represents a crucial Key Performance Indicator (KPI) for measuring the success of their event.
“An engaged audience means attendees are active listeners, asking questions and participating in discussions. They’re also more likely to remember key takeaways and take action after the event. In contrast, a disengaged audience may struggle to participate.”
How Do You Measure It?
You can measure audience engagement through various KPIs and methods. One approach is conducting post-event surveys with your attendees, asking them to rate their interest and participation during the event.
You can also track audience engagement through social media activity and online discussion. Looking around and seeing attendees sharing or discussing moments from your event is also a clear indication of engagement.
“You might also be able to measure audience engagement through event success metrics. Think about the number of attendees, repeat attendance, and post-event sales.”
How To Engage Your Audience Before The Event
Believe it or not, audience engagement actually begins before the event itself. As soon as you start promoting it, you have a chance to pique your audience’s interest and get them excited for what’s to come. Here are a few ways to engage your audience before the event:
When promoting your event, stay consistent and transparent with your communication. Keep your audience informed about important updates, such as speaker announcements or schedule changes. Consider creating a dedicated event website or online community to serve as a central hub for all event-related information and discussion.
“Remember that communication is a two-way street. Encourage your audience to ask questions, provide feedback, and share their ideas for the event.”
Doing so will help with engagement leading up to the event and allow you to gather valuable insights for improving the event experience.
Once your attendees finally arrive on the big day, it’ll be much easier to hit the ground running and fully participate. They’ll pick up where they left off in the online conversations and feel like they’re already part of a community.
Max Out On Marketing
Marketing your corporate event doesn’t have to be a boring task. Get creative with your promotions and sell the value of attending. Showcase key speakers or highlight exciting event elements, such as interactive activities or networking opportunities.
“You can go behind the scenes with team sneak peeks or exclusive event previews.”
We have a complete guide on event marketing that you can check out for even more tips and tricks. Doing a good job with your marketing will not only attract more attendees but also ensure those attendees are excited to get started.
Provide Attendee Incentives
Another way to engage your audience before the event is by offering incentives for attendance. It could be as simple as providing early bird discounts or offering unique perks. Ideas include VIP seating, merchandise giveaways, or even free food and drinks.
Someone with a personal incentive to attend is more likely to have a vested interest in participating. These participants get more out of the event experience and are less likely to check out mentally during presentations or discussions.
Eight Ways To Engage Your Audience At A Corporate Event
At last, the event day has arrived! It’s time to fully engage your audience and leave a lasting impression. Let’s dive into eight actionable ways to keep your attendees engaged throughout the event.
1. Encourage Participation
As simple as it sounds, sometimes the best way to engage your audience is by giving them a little push to participate. Encourage questions or discussion during presentations or panel discussions. Make sure to call on attendees who may be shy about speaking up and make them feel comfortable doing so.
“Incorporate interactive elements, such as polls or Q&A sessions. It will allow attendees to actively contribute and feel like they’re part of the event experience. Plus, it will provide valuable insights for improving future events.”
2. Facilitate Networking
Your program lineup is essential, but don’t forget about the value of networking. Provide plenty of opportunities for attendees to connect, whether it’s through planned activities or designated break times. Consider organizing speed networking sessions or setting up a specific area for informal networking.
You could incentivize networking by offering prizes for attendees who make the most connections or exchange the most business cards. Attendees will have the added incentive of growing their professional network and will be able to take advantage of valuable connections.
3. Mind The Seating Arrangement
Pay attention to the seating arrangement during presentations or panel discussions. Mix up the layout with round tables or arrange chairs in a circle to encourage conversation and participation. And make sure there is enough space for attendees to stand up and stretch their legs, as sitting for too long can lead to boredom and decreased engagement.
If possible, provide options for different seating styles, such as couches or standing tables. It will add variety to the event and cater to different learning styles. You might also want to incorporate standing or walking meetings to switch things up and keep attendees on their toes.
4. Monitor Engagement And Adjust Accordingly
“Check in with your audience throughout the event to gauge their level of engagement. Take a pulse check during breaks or incorporate it into interactive activities.”
However, try not to interrupt the flow of presentations or discussions. Use this feedback to adjust the event schedule as needed.
Move around breaks or change up activities to maintain energy levels and keep attendees interested. It’s important to keep track of time and stick to the schedule, as going over can lead to a loss of engagement.
5. Give Swag Bags
Can you really call it a corporate event without swag bags? The tried-and-true method of gifting attendees goodies adds indescribable value to the event experience. It’s also a fun way to increase engagement.
Fill the bags with relevant items, such as branded merchandise or products from sponsors. By definition, swag doesn’t have to be expensive. It needs to be creative and valuable to the attendees.
“Swag has the added benefit of promoting your brand once attendees take the items home and use them in their daily lives.”
6. Prepare Your Speakers
Remember the student example from earlier? They might have been more engaged if their teacher had been more prepared and passionate about the topic. The same goes for corporate events—ensure your speakers are well-prepared and enthusiastic about their presentations. They should be familiar with the basics of public speaking, such as:
- Keeping a steady pace and volume
- Maintaining eye contact
- Using hand gestures
- Speaking with energy and passion
You can also provide speakers with additional tips, such as incorporating storytelling into their presentations or utilizing visual aids. And don’t forget to have them practice beforehand! Practice will help alleviate a speaker’s nerves and allow them to deliver their presentation confidently.
7. Use Technology
“Many corporate events use a dedicated app or online platform to enhance the experience.”
Attendees can stay updated on the schedule, network with other attendees, and provide feedback through these tools. It’s also a convenient way for organizers to keep track of registrations and collect data on event engagement.
Incorporating technology can also add excitement to your events, such as using augmented or virtual reality in presentations. And don’t forget about social media! Encourage attendees to engage with your event through their personal accounts using a designated hashtag. That can generate buzz and increase the reach of your event.
8. Decorate The Space
“Last but not least, make sure the event space is visually appealing. A bland hotel conference room can easily lead to a loss of engagement. Use the event theme and brand aesthetic to guide your decorating choices, such as color scheme or signage.”
Make sure the space is well-lit and comfortable for attendees, with enough room for them to move around and network. Adding additional elements, such as interactive displays or fun seating arrangements, can add to the atmosphere.
And don’t forget about the food! Delicious catering or snacks can boost morale and keep attendees fueled throughout the event. However, organizing a corporate event of this magnitude can be a lot of work.
Curated Events specializes in luxury rentals and decor. We can help turn your event space into a visually stunning and immersive experience for your attendees. Don’t hesitate to enlist the help of an experienced event planning team to ensure everything goes smoothly and your attendees leave engaged and satisfied. Contact us for more information.
How To Engage Your Audience After The Event?
Unfortunately, the hard work doesn’t stop once the event ends. It’s best to keep the ball rolling and continue engaging attendees after the event. Amongst other things, you can:
Send Out A Survey
Collecting feedback is crucial for improving future events and determining what worked well for your audience. Make sure to send out a survey shortly after the event ends while attendees’ experiences are still fresh in their minds.
“Take the opportunity to thank them for their presence and ask for suggestions on improving.”
The survey can gather contact information for future events or promotions. Some event planning tools even allow attendees to provide feedback in real time through their event app or online platform.
Share Event Highlights
One way to continue engaging attendees is by sharing highlight moments from the event, such as through social media or a dedicated event website. Those who missed the event or want to relive their experience will appreciate the content. It can also attract potential attendees for future events.
“Ideally, a cameraman or photographer was present at the event to capture these moments. If not, encourage attendees to share their own photos and videos from the event using a designated hashtag.”
If all went well, attendees should have made plenty of connections at the event. Encourage them to continue networking and sharing ideas. Creating an online community, such as through a Facebook group or LinkedIn page, can facilitate this engagement.
You can also host conference calls on Zoom to continue the conversation and drive engagement. And don’t forget to update attendees on any news related to the event topic, such as new developments or upcoming special events.
Start Working On The Next One
Proudly showcase your recent event success by starting to plan the next one. Keep in touch with attendees and potential sponsors to gauge interest and start laying out a rough outline for the event. By now, you should have plenty of KPI data and feedback to guide your planning and ensure each event is better than the last.
Hosting successful events takes hard work, but with these tips and the help of experienced professionals like Curated Events, you can engage your audience and make a lasting impression. Contact us for more information on our event planning services. We look forward to working with you.