🚀 The Event Playbook: Proven strategies to level up your next event!

🚀 The Event Playbook:
Proven strategies to level up your next event!

Creating Memorable Experiences: The Importance of Event Engagement

The data shows it: event organizers can significantly improve engagement with attendees. by putting more creativity and innovation into their approach to make a stronger connection with participants. But how does one incorporate fresh ideas and social content into an event, ensuring a lively experience for all?

Innovative Event Strategies to Boost Engagement

Time to think way outside the box. Focus on building a collaborative and inclusive environment that encourages participation and fosters a sense of community. 

How? Incorporate design thinking and open communication elements to encourage idea-sharing and active audience engagement.

Prioritize Individual Attendee Experiences

But what is event engagement?

Event engagement, commonly known as audience engagement, is the measure of an event’s success in maintaining the attention and promoting active participation of its attendees. Highly engaging events captivate and fascinate their audience, consistently holding their interest and encouraging interaction throughout the event.

Making this a priority means that we can’t just focus on what we think attendees need. We need to prioritize their individual needs and interests by creating personalized and customized experiences that align with their values and motivations. 

By tapping into the collective intelligence of virtual attendees and fostering a sense of shared purpose and meaning, unlock the full potential of virtual events and create truly transformative experiences.

Despite 82% of B2B marketers recognizing attendee engagement as a crucial KPI for event success, the Evolution of Events Report shows that 67.7% struggle to maintain high levels of engagement during virtual events.

To make real progress in this area, it might be time to bring in some outside expertise and support from industry experts. 

The right virtual production experts will help you gain fresh perspectives and insights and provide the guidance and direction you need to move forward confidently with groundbreaking hybrid gatherings. 

So let’s get to work and start building a more engaging, collaborative, and personalized virtual event experience that your attendees will love.

Mapping Out Engagement: A Holistic Approach

a group of people working on a laptop and papers

As event organizers, you aim to create experiences that engage and inspire your attendees. To do this, take a holistic approach to attendee engagement with the best practices of virtual and hybrid conferences.

Set Aside a Time for Reflection

Encouraging attendees to reflect on their experiences and identify areas for improvement is a great way to ensure that gatherings are successful for attendees and event organizers. 

Event planners can gain valuable insight into improving their conferences by establishing a forum where individuals can discuss their thoughts, feelings, and experiences in a positive environment. 

At the same time, attendees develop action plans to implement long-lasting positive changes.

Leave Open Space for Networking

Creativity arises from unexpected connections or chance encounters. Event organizers often pack the agenda session after the session, forgetting that attendees like to talk and share. First and foremost, we must create a sense of community among our attendees:

  • Provide event opportunities to connect before, during, and afterward
  • Program virtual networking sessions
  • Allow for interactive discussion forums
  • Build community through active social media groups
  • Help attendees build relationships and stay engaged
  • Leave plenty of space in your agenda for attendees to mingle casually, like at an in-person conference. 

    Virtual events create opportunities for attendees to connect with others. They find the right people easily and can reach out with less effort with the right digital tools. 

    By incorporating areas for impromptu conversations and informal gatherings, attendees are more likely to connect and build meaningful relationships. 

    Event apps and online platforms provide exciting networking opportunities because through data and personal recommended connections, we can be more intentional with the connections that we make at events. 

    Many event organizers neglect to set aside time for casual interactions. It’s not unusual for them to schedule wall-to-wall speakers with little time for natural networking. 

    Yet, in our experience over the years, what truly makes a conference stand out is the unique opportunity to build relationships organically in the spaces between scheduled sessions. 

    The solution?

    Schedule open times where individuals can meet other attendees and chat with speakers. 

    They will build relationships and trust. And your brand will benefit! These relationships will last well beyond the conference and help your gathering have a long-lasting impact. 

    Personalize Audience Experience Through Data-Driven Tech

    a family in winter clothes is standing in the middle of a Christmas village drinking coffee as a symbol of how tailored event experiences can get

    In today’s digital age, attendees crave unique experiences tailored to their needs and preferences. 

    By harnessing the power of personalization, we can create a lasting impression that resonates with our virtual audience long after everything has ended. 

    In fact, organizers who incorporate data analytics into their strategy improve overall KPI and metrics by 65%!

    At the heart of personalization is understanding our attendees. Take the time to analyze data and identify their interests, behaviors, and pain points. 

    This information allows us to create targeted marketing campaigns, personalized post-event communications, and a tailored event agenda that speaks directly to our attendees.

    One effective way to personalize virtual or hybrid conferences is through data-driven event technology

    This includes tools that allow us to track attendee behavior and preferences in real time, enabling us to make informed decisions on the fly. 

    By leveraging this technology, we can adjust our messaging, content, and activities on the fly to better suit the needs of our attendees.

    Always follow up with post-event communications. With the right tools and tech, we can build a community of like-minded individuals passionate about our conference and eager to participate.

    Understand Your Audience's Motivation

    Personalization and customization increase engagement levels and foster connections. Aligning virtual meetings with core values and beliefs builds community and shared purpose. 

    Virtual networking breaks geographic, cultural, and organizational boundaries, inspiring collaboration and innovation.

    Focus on shared goals and values to promote connections and motivation. Targeted questions and understanding attendee experiences can lead to meaningful interactions. 

    Gamification or competition can increase excitement and participation. Ongoing communication and follow-up build relationships. 

    Virtual networking fosters a sense of belonging without physical gatherings. Successful virtual networking requires understanding attendees, commitment to shared values, and ongoing engagement.

    Tap into the Neuroscience Behind Connection and Engagement

    a man in a labcoat is holding out his hand toward a glowing human brain, symbolizing event planners taking a hold of the neuroscience of attendee behavior.

    Understanding the neuroscience of attendee behavior is crucial in creating an engaging virtual event experience. 

    By understanding how the brain works, we can tailor our events to tap into the reward system and create a sense of connection and meaning for our attendees.

    The brain’s reward system is activated when we experience pleasure or satisfaction. This system can be engaged in a hybrid event by creating a sense of connection and meaning for attendees. 

    When participants feel a sense of belonging and purpose, their brains release dopamine, a neurotransmitter associated with pleasure and motivation. 

    This can lead to deeper levels of engagement, as attendees are more likely to stay focused and actively participate in the event.

    By designing the online experience with the brain’s reward system in mind, organizers can create an experience that is not only enjoyable but also impactful and memorable.

    Encourage Active Collaboration and Communication

    Provide opportunities for attendees to work together and share ideas. Virtual attendees build relationships through online platforms. 

    Interactive experiences boost attendee engagement. Live poll features, Q&A sessions, and breakout rooms encourage attendees to participate actively. 

    They will stay engaged and interested. Give them a sense of ownership over their experience.

    Foster a Culture of Connection and Inclusivity

    Create a welcoming atmosphere that celebrates successes and creates a positive mindset among attendees. 

    To engage attendees, focus on prioritize a strong sense of belonging and connection. 

    Intentional design and communication foster trust and psychological safety, creating an environment where attendees feel comfortable sharing their ideas and opinions. 

    Encouraging participation and collaboration is essential. Allow attendees to feel part of a community with a shared purpose and values.

    Diversity in groups leads to a wider range of perspectives and ideas. When planning a virtual event, purposely plan how to create a diverse group of attendees and presenters to maximize creativity and innovation.

    Design Accessibility Features for World-Wide Reach

    a man is signing at a desk with a laptop to make the event accessible to more audiences

    Accessibility is a crucial aspect of any event, and this is especially true in the context of hybrid events, which combine in-person and virtual elements. 

    Hybrid conferences provide opportunities to make events more accessible for individuals with disabilities, such as by providing closed captioning, sign language interpretation, or audio descriptions for virtual attendees.

    Ensure that accessibility measures are integrated seamlessly into the event experience rather than being an afterthought or add-on. 

    By prioritizing accessibility and taking proactive steps to address the needs of diverse audiences, hybrid meetings can become more inclusive and impactful for everyone involved.

    Share Best Practices with Stories of Personal Success

    Encourage attendees to share their success stories and best practices. They will learn from the positive experiences of others. 

    Vulnerability and honesty about challenges and triumphs build trust and community. Not only does personal sharing allow attendees to learn from the experiences of others, but it also encourages peer-to-peer collaboration and networking. 

    They can build on the experiences of each other to create impactful ideas that implement change on a grand scale. 

    Never underestimate the power of storytelling. Incorporating personal anecdotes, case studies, and real-world examples into our presentations and sessions creates an emotional connection with the audience and helps them apply best practices to real life. 

    a man sitting in a chair in front of a small audience during a library event to symbolize the power of storytelling

    How can you achieve this? 

  • Share a personal story related to the theme to grab your audience’s attention and build an emotional connection
  • Use visual aids like photos, videos, or animations to illustrate your stories and increase engagement
  • Simplify complex concepts by using metaphors and analogies
  • Add a touch of humor to break the ice and make the audience more receptive to your message
  • Build suspense by gradually revealing important information or leading up to a key point in your story
  • Use repetition to emphasize key points and make them more memorable
  • Make your stories relatable to the audience by incorporating universal themes that people can connect with
  • End with a clear call to action that motivates the audience to act on what they have learned
  • Follow these storytelling best practices to build a strong connection of trust with your audience. 

    animation of virtual event engagement features

    Celebrate Achievements Collectively with Gamification

    Acknowledge and celebrate attendees’ achievements, individually and as a group. To create a sense of excitement and engagement among our attendees, design gamification elements into the schedule:

    1. Points-based system
    2. Leaderboards
    3. Badges and trophies
    4. Challenges and missions
    5. Virtual scavenger hunts
    6. Trivia and quiz games
    7. Interactive poll features and surveys
    8. Virtual raffles and giveaways
    9. Social media contests and hashtags
    10. Virtual reality experiences

    Create a sense of friendly competition among attendees. Introducing these game mechanics into your virtual meetings gives members a sense of purpose and greater motivation to participate actively. Add an entertaining element to the gathering.

    Gamification increases interactivity while increasing knowledge retention in attendees through a multisensory approach. Experience a significant increase in enthusiasm among participants who strive hard to impress in friendly competition.

    1. Align gamification with event objectives and attendee goals
    2. Keep game mechanics simple and easy to understand
    3. Offer appealing rewards that motivate participants
    4. Use real-time feedback to maintain engagement and excitement
    5. Incorporate social sharing and peer-to-peer competition
    6. Use gamification to enhance learning and skill-building
    7. Incorporate gamification into pre-event and post-event activities
    8. Encourage collaboration and teamwork through gamified challenges
    9. Provide clear instructions and guidelines for game participation
    10. Continuously monitor and adjust gamification strategies based on participant feedback

    Always get your audience prepared for any interactive activity pre-event. Why? Many people are used to attending virtual meetings and just sitting and listening. 

    And not all organizers realize that they may need to help the audience prepare for upcoming engagement.

    Provide clear instructions on how to participate, explain the purpose of the game and its benefits, and set expectations for the level of engagement required. 

    Encourage attendees to download necessary apps or software in advance and provide opportunities for practice or training sessions to ensure a smooth and enjoyable experience.

    Customer support will make a massive difference. Set up a team to answer questions and help with any tech issues. 

    With some planning, your audience will be ready to interact at your conference.

    Incentivize Participation to Build Camaraderie

    three people sitting and talking to each other with different devices on hand to symbolize camaraderie between event attendees

    Offering incentives such as prizes or recognition for event attendees who actively participate is a great way to increase engagement and make online gatherings more successful. 

    Not only does it give attendees a reason to be more involved, but it also helps create a sense of camaraderie among all participants. 

    Prizes can range from small items, such as merchandise or gift cards, to larger prizes, such as vacation packages or VIP experiences.

    You don’t just want to encourage external incentivization but to encourage personal reflection on the conference topics. 

    Incentives don’t need to be large. They can be small. Even positive feedback on discussions serves to build participation. 

    So challenge your moderator and speakers to provide a safe environment for discussion and innovation. 

    Encourage Innovative Experimentation

    Creativity equals countless instances of experimentation and trial and error. Virtual conferences allow attendees to experiment with untried concepts through interactive workshops or brainstorming sessions. 

    Program unique chances to explore new ideas and approaches. Purposely design paths to work together and invent imaginative solutions to challenges.

    Program Brainstorming Sessions with Sponsors and Speakers

    Collaborating with sponsors and speakers to brainstorm joint initiatives benefits all parties involved. 

    Work together to create strategies tailored specifically toward the context of an online meeting. 

    Audiences appreciate individualized attention. Increase active participation tenfold through innovative discussion and groundbreaking collaboration. 

     Your event platform should make interactions easy and simple to join. Some popular ways to encourage breakout session collaboration are: 

    1. Speed brainstorming rounds
    2. Collaborative mind mapping
    3. Interactive virtual whiteboarding
    4. Gamified brainstorming challenges
    5. Group problem-solving exercises
    6. Reverse brainstorming techniques
    7. Collaborative storytelling sessions
    8. Design thinking workshops
    9. Role-playing scenario discussions
    10. Random word association exercises
    11. Rapid prototyping exercises
    12. Forced connections brainstorming
    13. Mind stretching exercises
    14. Random stimuli sessions
    15. Improvisation brainstorming techniques

    Partnering with speakers and sponsors provides additional solutions for event organizers and audiences. 

    A great strategy is to employ a few speakers in the session to plant questions and encourage discussion. 

    They can get the ball rolling, especially if other audience members aren’t ready to interact. Work with your speakers to have them lead the discussion and brainstorming sessions. 

    And don’t forget the post-event. It’s worth exploring different ideas that could help attendees build relationships with the conference and its sponsors even after its conclusion. Continue community-building through an app or online platform.

    Experiment with Cutting Edge Technology and Invention

    Event organizers need to be on the cutting edge of technology to create extraordinary and memorable happenings. 

    As virtual and hybrid meetings become increasingly popular, attendees need and expect event experiences beyond the ordinary virtual gathering or webinar. 

    To stay on top, find innovative ways to use new technologies that will set conferences and exhibitions apart from the crowd:

    1. Virtual Backgrounds
    2. 3D Virtual Spaces
    3. Interactive Exhibits
    4. Augmented Reality
    5. Hybrid Scavenger Event
    6. Virtual Reality
    7. Live Chat
    8. AI-Powered Networking
    9. Live Polls
    10. Virtual Swag Bags
    11. One-Stop Branded Marketing Event Registration
    12. Live Streaming
    13. Webinars
    14. Gamification
    15. Breakout Rooms
    16. Mobile Event Apps
    17. Social Media Integration

    The first step is to locate a partner pushing boundaries when experimenting with different kinds of tech and exploring fresh ideas. 

    Finding the right virtual production team equipped with ambitious minds willing to bring a high level of planning, execution, reliability, and creativity is essential for event design that’s novel yet practical. 

    Your event staff will harness the latest event tools to ensure you have the most successful and engaging conference yet!

    Foster Engagement Post-Event with Virtual Swag Bags

    Virtual swag bags have endless possibilities, allowing event planners to get creative with their offers. 

    Tailor items according to specific industries or themes relevant to your attendees so they’re even more special. 

    With virtual swag bags, guarantee your virtual meeting stands out. Instead of physical items, virtual swag bags can include digital downloads, coupons, or exclusive content. 

    Consider partnering with sponsors to provide personalized offers and promotions to attendees.

    Push App Adoption to Your Audience

    Mobile apps offer a range of useful features that can help organizers increase attendee engagement levels. 

    Push notifications can alert attendees when sessions are live, encouraging participation. Utilize real-time marketing elements. 

    Other features like live polling, interactive agendas, and communities allow planners to gather valuable insights into participant opinions and foster a sense of community among attendees.

    Did you know that 75% of consumers are happy to receive brand updates and texts when they can opt-in? Take advantage! Use your app to connect with your audience! 

    Identify your target audience’s needs, interests, and challenges to maximize event app adoption. 

    Build features that specifically appeal to attendees based on the gathered data, such as exclusive rewards or early access to session materials. 

    Continuously optimize tailored offerings by reassessing the user base to increase interaction and efficiently grow the event platform.

    Exploit Branded Event Technology

    Develop a cohesive visual identity throughout all event materials, including digital and physical assets. 

    This can include creating a branded website, email templates, social media graphics, and signage. You can get in touch with various website design companies to help you in creating a new website.

    Use branded content throughout the virtual meeting, such as pre-recorded videos, live streams, or interactive activities that showcase the brand’s messaging and values. Reinforce the brand’s message and create a sense of consistency across all event activities.

    Event organizers can leverage technology to create immersive and engaging branded experiences for attendees. 

    For example, virtual and augmented reality can create interactive exhibits and product demonstrations that showcase the brand’s offerings. 

    Live polls and surveys can also gather attendees’ feedback and create a more personalized experience that aligns with the brand’s values and messaging.

    Incorporating branding into hybrid spaces is essential for creating a cohesive and memorable experience for attendees. 

    By developing a strong visual identity, using branded event content, and leveraging technology, event organizers can increase engagement and create a lasting impact for virtual and in-person attendees.

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    Create a Culture of Honest Feedback

    Solicit feedback from your virtual audience on what worked well and what could be improved to create a culture of continuous improvement. 

    A virtual event can provide opportunities for online attendees to receive feedback on their ideas and projects, such as through online peer review, an interactive element, or expert feedback sessions. Exponentially increase your event life cycle.

    Integrate Live Polling and Q&As for Continuous Audience Feedback

    Ongoing engagement matters. Make your virtual or in-person event engaging and interactive with polling and live Q&A

    With these features, online attendees participate, learn, ask questions, give opinions, and gain valuable insights. 

    They also foster collaboration and generate ideas among attendees, improving the overall experience. 

    Utilize polling, ice breakers, and Q&A’s to increase attendance engagement, connections between guests, and interactivity at your hybrid conference.

    Strengthen Connections with Post-Event Follow-Up

    a group of people sitting at a table

    Create opportunities for attendee engagement through follow-up communication and opportunities for continued learning and collaboration. 

    To secure the success of all events, staying engaged with post-event attendees is crucial. Keeping the conversation going is key. 

    You can do this through an app, email, or online platform. Inform real-time marketing strategies with an app or integrated platform. 

    Set a goal to engage with audience members consistently after everything ends. You want to build your community. Don’t let these potential leads go to waste. 

    For example, sending thank you notes to all participants is a simple yet effective way to make attendees feel appreciated and valued. 

    A brief follow-up event survey requesting responses from attendees is another useful tool to gather feedback and improve future events. 

    By asking valuable questions in an email about their favorite and least favorite parts of the experience, event staff understand what works for their guests and offer ideas for further improvement.

    Collecting and analyzing survey responses guarantees top-notch future conferences and demonstrates dedication to growth, building attendee trust. 

    Never miss the opportunity to maintain continuous post-event follow-up and ensure the success of your next virtual conference.

    Harnessing Data for Future Success

    Event organizers utilize data collection of hybrid event attendees to gain valuable insights into their preferences, behavior, and overall engagement. 

    By leveraging tools such as surveys, social media analytics, and event app data, organizers gather information on attendees’ favorite sessions, preferred communication channels, and level of audience engagement throughout the experience. 

    This information can inform future decisions on event content, scheduling, and marketing for future meetings.

    Data is integral to a cutting-edge post-event engagement strategy. Through analyzing attendee feedback, organizers identify areas for improvement and adjust their strategies accordingly

    Organizers may change session formats, adjust the timing of sessions or breaks, and improve communication strategies. 

    Data collection aids organizers in understanding which marketing channels are most effective in reaching and engaging their target audience.

    What is the key to successful data collection? Ensure event surveys and other event tools are user-friendly and accessible

    Leverage event management software to streamline data analysis. Attendees are likelier to provide useful feedback if the process is quick and simple. 

    Always analyze the data promptly and use the insights to make actionable improvements for future conferences.

    Crafting an Engaging Event: 20 Winning Strategies

    This article discussed everything from setting goals to using data and cutting-edge online platforms to foster interactivity and an individualized audience experience. 

    We & Goliath have partnered with global organizations to create impactful worldwide change. So what’s our secret? 

    Here are our top winning strategies to harness audience engagement for your next big event:

    1. Encourage collaboration and build on strengths for innovative solutions and positive outcomes
    2. Promote creativity and provide a supportive environment for attendees to work together
    3. Prioritize and focus on impactful actions to achieve success
    4. Emphasize continuous improvement for a culture of positivity and growth
    5. Celebrate successes and acknowledge achievements to reinforce a positive mindset
    6. Apply collaboration, prioritization, and continuous improvement foci to all initiatives for long-term success.
    7. Personalize experiences 
    8. Follow-up communication and opportunities for continued learning and collaboration
    9. Understand the motivations and needs of virtual attendees for effective networking opportunities
    10. Personalization and customization foster stronger connections between virtual attendees
    11. Align networking events with core values to create a sense of community and shared purpose
    12. Virtual networking connects individuals across geographic, cultural, and organizational boundaries
    13. Emphasize shared goals and values for a more connected and motivated community
    14. Ask targeted questions to understand unique perspectives and experiences
    15. Incorporate gamification or competition for excitement and increased participation
    16. Commit to ongoing communication and follow-up to build relationships
    17. Fostering meaningful relationships builds community and a sense of belonging
    18. Understand attendee needs, shared values, and ongoing engagement
    19. Utilize virtual networking as a tool for innovation and collaboration
    20. Foster communication, collaboration, and mutual benefit 

    By taking these incredible strategies and tools, you will master the art of audience engagement. But if you need extra help, give We & Goliath a call. 

    Our incredible event consultants will help you develop the winning strategies to reach your event audiences and maximize engagement opportunities for your online events. 

    Contact Our Award-Winning Experts for Your Upcoming Events

    Don’t let your virtual events fall short of their potential. Take action and seek the award-winning We & Goliath expertise to bring fresh perspectives and insights. By prioritizing collaboration and innovation, we can improve virtual event engagement, resulting in better outcomes and increased participant satisfaction.

    Let’s create transformative virtual experiences that connect, inspire, and empower attendees.

    We & Goliath

    We & Goliath is an award-winning, top 100 worldwide event agency known for increasing conference attendance by 7X and profits by 3X through beautifully designed virtual, hybrid, and in-person events. Since 1999, their team of innovative strategists and creative designers has worked with global enterprises, SMBs, non-profits, and other organizations to engage audiences and exceed expectations.

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