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We’ve all been to an event that seemed stale, dry, and frankly uninspiring. Designing, developing and producing engaging events takes multiple teams rowing their respective boats collectively in the same direction, and often times in today’s event space that just isn’t the case.

Today’s event attendees are more distracted than ever. With hundreds of other people, sights, and sounds vying for their attention, it can seem as though attendees are anything but engaged. Whether you’re hosting a trade show, entertaining internal employees, or simply hosting a single session that is part of a larger event, engagement is key. With the overall success of your event depending on attendee engagement, keeping people focused is critical. Engaging events are difficult to put on, but they aren’t impossible; especially with the help of Bluewater.

Here are five innovative ways to keep attendees engaged at your next event:

1. Audience polling and quizzes

Sometimes, all it takes for audience members to be engaged is for someone to ask them a question. Whether you want to use an event-specific app, polling hardware technology, or even a simple raise of hands, asking your audience pointed questions can keep their minds engaged. If you are using a tech or mobile based solution, ask for their name or email for even more engagement and follow-up post-event.

2. Strong presentation graphics

Think about the slides your speakers are using, the visuals associated with the topic, and even the lighting or background of the stage. All of these graphical elements can draw people’s attention – if they’re done well. Regardless of the presentation topic, try to spice things up a bit. Add some sizzle to bland slides with well-organized images and animations, and give your headlines some extra attention during your brainstorming sessions. When your presentation graphics and copy are strong, people will naturally want to listen to what your speaker is saying instead of tuning him or her out.  Our design team can help produce these graphics, or we’d be happy to work with partner agencies that are already producing them for the brands they serve.

3. Adequate speaker coaching

This is a huge issue with today’s events that event marketers tend to gloss over in favor of more ‘important’ initiatives, but speaker coaching really can make or break your event. At the end of the day, some attendees won’t pay attention to your sessions simply because the speakers are, for lack of a better word, boring. There might be great content and insight showing up in the presentation, but nobody is paying attention. Speakers must be able to own the stage – and own the attention of their audience – to truly connect. Work with your speakers well in advance of your event to ensure they’re comfortable and ready to rock before they get onstage.

4. Ample session signage

Sometimes, people aren’t engaged simply because they don’t know what’s going on! Ample session signage (or signage throughout your entire event) is a great way to keep attendees focused and in the zone. Signage lets people know what’s coming up next, where things are happening, and what time things are starting. Signage also shows attendees that you as event coordinators take their time seriously and don’t want them wandering around aimlessly. It can help people stay organized and on-time throughout the day, especially if you add in extras such as countdown clocks or actual staff walking around to help people throughout the event.

5. Engaging audio and video

Whether you’re trying to engage your audience before or after your session starts, some good music and visuals can help wake up the room and set an exciting tone for the rest of the presentation. Creating an engaging environment is all about getting the energy right, and even if nobody is on the stage you can still leave a lasting impression. If you already have the screens and speakers hooked up in your room, take advantage of the technology!
When it comes to keeping event attendees engaged, outside distractions are only growing and becoming more challenging to overcome. By keeping focus and engagement top-of-mind while planning your events, you can proactively address these issues before they occur. At Bluewater, we’re helping event teams deliver amazing productions and engaging event sessions guaranteed to increase participation. You can learn more about our event-specific technology offerings here.