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10 Creative Ideas for Engaging Attendees At Your Events

Engagement is one of the primary concerns of event planners. We are very familiar with all of the logistics surrounding a successful event, but how do we make sure that our attendees are having an experience they'll never forget once they are in our presence? I've been doing a bit of speaking lately on cool techniques that I have seen to engage an audience and thought I would share 10 fresh ideas for you. Feel free to implement these, share your own, or use these as fodder for new ideas.

- Streamline all the little details so that your attendees aren't distracted by messy logistics. Use ipads for checkin and registration and make sure you've made every step clear for your attendees so they aren't wasting precious engagement time looking for a bathroom or standing in a long line.
- Create productive spaces. Rather than looking to have charging stations all throughout your event, think about how you can give people space to spread out their devices, charge right from their seats and interact with their colleagues. Seating is an important piece of a larger engagement strategy.
- Leverage your speakers for more than just a single session. Encourage them to participate in a pre-event interviews on blab or to post a private Q&A session during lunch. Leverage their social networks and encourage them to make connections with your attendees before, during, and after the event to extend the reach of the speakers you are hiring.
- Jazz up your name badges! Give people a blank badge and encourage them to be creative – listing interests, Twitter handles or other important information in addition to their name so that it becomes a talking point, rather than just a piece of paper. Or, get rid of them altogether and encourage people to make a connection by starting a conversation.
- Use digital signage to engage your attendees. If you can change the messaging throughout your event with just the click of a mouse or a few clicks of the keyboard, take advantage and update your digital signage throughout the day to welcome attendees by name, thank speakers and sponsors by name, or engage in other ways.
- Create picture perfect moments. Whether you like it or not, your attendees are always taking pictures - design your events with this in mind and give them something to tweet about!
- Take a group photo - whether your event has 10 attendees or 1,000, get them all together and take a group photo. Then, share the photo on your Facebook picture and tag away!
- Take advantage of light. Light has a huge impact on a person's attention/engagement level so make sure you integrate natural light whenever possible. If not possible, do whatever you can to bring in warm uplighting and nature via floral arrangements.
- Don't forget about attention span. People get distracted easily so create programming that is fast-paced and engaging, Don't lose your attendees in mindless back-to-back hour-long sessions. Instead, create a program that keeps them on their toes.
- Finally, encourage people to engage by leveraging influencers in your audience. Find the more social people and ask them explicitly to get involved in making your event friendlier and more accessible for newer attendees. The more comfortable people feel, the easier it will be for them to make a connection that lasts the test of time.

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