It’s not enough to get people to attend your social or corporate events.
If you want them to truly engage, then you need to get them to interact, to do more than just listen to you.
It can also be hard as people tend to stick with their group during events, playing along together with little or no interaction with others.
As an event organiser, this can be problematic because the overarching goal of a memorable event relies on attendees’ conversations post-event.
So, you may be wondering how event planners can ensure guests interact with the event?
Here are a few tricks to get people mingling and mixing at any event.
No matter if it’s a conference or more of a social gathering, you have to start the process well in advance of the day itself. This is so that people will want to contribute more than just listen.
You could therefore start small and host scaled-down versions of an event to build up some hype in advance of the big event so that when the big day comes, guests will feel more connected to the content and will be able to engage more effectively.
For the pre-event, you may want to think about where it is and the size. As you could go for something small like an arts centre or on a larger scale like an exhibition centre or conference centre.
In this way, you are able to begin building anticipation for your bigger event before it actually happens, which allows you to boost engagement once the event itself starts.
Attendees will be more inclined to interact at your event if they are able to meet and greet other attendees before the event. This is compared to attempting to do so on the big day.
Social media can be a great way for attendees to interact. Prepare for your event by doing pre-event work, such as creating an online hangout to build anticipation or asking your target audience for ideas about possible speakers or topics.
Social media can also be used to collect feedback after an event or to enhance interaction during it. For instance, you may wish to create customised hashtags and then award related tweets by attendees throughout the event.
Whether you’re building anticipation or getting feedback for next time, it all helps. In addition, non-attendees will have a chance to engage and participate in the event.
At the event
Break the ice.
You can do this with activities like games, and challenges are the ultimate ice-breaker – as long as they’re organic and not forced. People will become curious to join in once they see others taking on a challenge, forming groups as they encourage each other and creating a bond between them.
Some other icebreaker ideas…
- Q&A – This naturally encourages audience participation, or separates large groups into smaller ones so that it isn’t as intimidating for attendees to mingle.
- Relaxed environment – Think about creating a lounge-like area somewhat removed from the event with plenty of space for people to exchange ideas and connect comfortably.
- Time – Invite attendees to meet during designated times or host a post-event celebration in an intimate setting, such as a restaurant, or a bar.
As guests move through an event, their interaction levels can vary significantly. For example, having everybody stand still in one place makes it difficult to interact.
Having a clear route interspersed with points of interest, artefacts, and exhibits will allow attendees to talk to their fellow attendees more easily.
Give your audience more to talk about with a live show to spice up your event, either a band or singer that will add to your event. You can always ask if your venue will have these event services already in place.
An example of a unique venue would be a museum, like Royal Museums Greenwich, a converted church like St. Augustine’s Arts & Events Centre or a historical building like English Heritage historic venues.
What about adding the talking point to your event with an Ice Sculpture from Hamilton Ice Sculptors.
Read here, Five Reasons why Unique Venues Make Great Events.
Incorporating competition between tables as people are seated together at a dinner function or planning an interactive tablescape that encourages teamwork is one of the best ways to instantly bond people.
Teams can be immersed further into the experience by doing activities such as table quizzes on the venue itself. If you are struggling with quiz ideas follow this article: How To Create An Interesting Quiz In 8 Steps.
If you give thought to your seating plans for a sit-down dinner, you can encourage people to get out of their comfort zones while ensuring conversation will be sparked between similar guests.
If guests know they can mingle after their meal, this can help put them at ease. You could organise something like an informal dessert concept such as a dessert buffet table. This can also provide a further chance for interaction.
Additionally, choosing a venue with striking décor will help guarantee a conversation starter. For example, you could try The Brewery for its 6 high-class corporate rooms that can be customised exactly according to your needs.
Our final advice to you is have fun with your guests! Of course, take onboard our helpful tips and tricks to get everyone involved but always have fun doing it!
For more information about how to be more sociable at your events click here!