Successful events now rely on getting the participants involved
Social media, technology and more involved participants all foster greater delegate engagement.
The Tourism Intelligence Network was asked to give a workshop at the Salon de L’Organisateur, put on as part of the SATQ-FEQ conference on Quebec festivals, events and tourist attractions, held November 8, 2016. The workshop title was Rethinking Your Business Meetings (Réinventez vos réunions d’affaires). The information below was presented in the section on delegate engagement.
Actively engage with your participants
Getting participants involved in your event means actively engaging with them. Today’s delegates are no longer interested in one-way communication; they want to share their ideas rather than listen passively, so you need to start thinking about them as active participants rather than passive spectators. Ideally, events should offer 10- to 15-minute mini-conferences and small group sessions, both of which are conducive to knowledge and skills sharing. These should be interspersed with group work to help the audience stay focussed. Physical activity not only improves participants’ health and well-being, it can also enhance learning, help people clarify their goals, stay awake, connect with other participants, and simply have fun.
Source : EMEC
Engage with them on social networks
Prior to the event, use social media to announce or solicit participant feedback on the line-up of events, sell advance tickets, and give special discounts or rewards.
Create a hashtag
Choose a hashtag and get the word out to your participants. It should be short, relevant and available (i.e., make sure it is not already being used). Share it on your social networks and encourage your participants to use it when posting photos on Instagram or tweeting on Twitter. You can also help them share information with a “Tweet this” link or button. Frontwall – which includes all the photos, comments, shares, etc. using the same hashtag from all social networks – is your new best friend, as it will generate and maintain excitement about your meeting or event. Remember to use your influencers before, during and even after the event. Ask them to use your hashtag on their own networks to provide your event with additional visibility.
Source: Successful Meetings
Say it with games
Why not encourage your participants to connect with you on social networks through games?
Once you have established your event’s purpose, decide how a game could help you achieve it. If your event is a trade show, you could organize a scavenger hunt and ask participants to share their discoveries on Instagram or Twitter. Or, how about a quiz? Participants can collect stamps by correctly answering questions about the exhibitors; the person with the most stamps wins!
Another winning strategy is to hold a photo contest as part of your networking event, where the person who takes a group selfie with the most people wins a prize. This is a terrific ice-breaker and will create great memories for all involved. Yet another way to get them talking to each other is by rewarding the participant who collects the most business cards. The possibilities of gamification are endless.
Say it with technology
New technologies can even promote interactions between people who don’t attend your event. There are many possible ways to do this, including RFID technology, mobile applications or live streaming on platforms such as YouTube, Livestream or Ustream.
RFID bracelets, such as those from Connect&Go, enable participants to share their experiences, live, with other participants, their colleagues or even their friends on social media. For example, the Just for Laughs Festival recently introduced on-site photo booths and mobile cameras, where users could use RFID technology to digitally record their experiences, share them on social media and enter them in contests and challenges in order to win prizes. On-site photo booths and recording stations, as well websites and mobile apps, are all SMS-enabled.
When conference participant badges incorporate RFID technology, organizers can gather real-time data such as:
- participant information: contact details, interests, career path or any other personal information that is in the public domain;
- participant movement within the conference venue: what rooms are visited and how much time is spent in each room, etc.
RFID technology enables participants to:
- exchange virtual business cards;
- get in touch via text message;
- create a list of everyone they met.
Mobile applications are also useful ways for participants to meet and talk. The market is currently flooded with apps that aim to maximize your networking results. One of them is Ties, an app that has been tested in events of 100 to 200 people. People sign up with their LinkedIn account, add the events they are interested in attending to their profile, and specify whom they would like to meet. Once at the event, they can get in touch via text messaging.
In closing, remember this: reducing the number of programmed events and creating space for conversation is a sure-fire way to generate engagement.
Source de l’image à la une: Pixabay
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-Réseau de veille en tourisme. « Réinventez vos événements d’affaires », Salon de L’Organisateur, attractionsevenements.com, 8 novembre 2016.