Let’s be honest – corporate events can take up a lot of resources. So, it’s important that your event helps achieve your objectives.
Whether you’re hosting a conference, company party, internal meeting or product launch, these 10 tips will help create an engaging experience for your attendees:
1. Consider a non-traditional venue
Ballrooms and convention centers get old quickly – especially if your audience attends corporate events frequently. Why limit yourself to a traditional venue when more and more companies are offering spaces for events? Choosing a venue that offers activities or a modern feel can garner excitement among attendees, helping them soak up the full experience of your corporate event.
Here are a few out-of-the box event venues to consider:
- Bowling alleys
- Breweries or wineries
- Outdoor patios (fresh air is a great way to keep people energized)
- Lofts or lounges
- Art galleries
- Amusement and/or indoor adventure parks
2. Set an agenda and stick to it
The key to keeping your attendees engaged throughout the duration of the event is a well-structured agenda. Scheduling too many presentations or sessions back to back will result in information overload. Make sure you break up the day with some downtime so everyone has a chance to grab a bite to eat and stretch their legs. Furthermore, you may benefit from including a networking or social session either before or after the event. A networking session scheduled at the beginning is a good way to break the ice among guests, helping them feel at ease. On the other hand, a session scheduled at the end of the agenda is a great way for people to connect and ask questions on topics they found interesting throughout the day.
We recommend communicating the agenda to all attendees in advance so they know what to expect.
3. Design a room layout that fits your corporate event’s objectives
Room layouts are not one size fits all. It’s crucial to design the room layout for the type of event you’re hosting and your desired outcomes.
- If you want to foster collaboration you might set up a comfortable lounge space that encourages conversation
- If you’re hosting a product launch, you’ll want to set up areas where people can see, feel and test out the product
- If the event is social in nature (like a holiday party), make sure there’s lots of room for guests to mingle and they aren’t too cramped
And while we’re on the topic of room layout…
4. Provide comfortable seating
Nothing is worse than trying to pay attention or enjoy yourself when sitting in an uncomfortable seat. You’ll lose the attention of your guests quickly if they’re uncomfortable in any way, so make sure you test out any seating areas before committing to it.
5. Encourage audience participation during presentations
Structuring presentations in a way that encourages audience participation is a great way to keep people engaged. In addition to this, your audience is more likely to retain information through interactive presentations. Our recommendation is to leverage technology to make your presentations more interactive.
Here are a few ideas to spark some inspiration:
- Poll your audience throughout the presentation using real-time poll websites that allows the audience to submit answers via their smartphone
- Set up a website where your audience can submit questions during the Q&A period – this is ideal for a larger crowd where people may be intimidated to speak up
- Ask the audience to make a post or to follow you on social media to keep the conversation going afterwards
6. Strategic giveaways
Everybody loves giveaways and people almost expect them these days. Use giveaways to your advantage by being strategic about how the audience wins them. Our suggestion? Reward your audience for paying attention. Have guests answer questions about presentations or sessions and place any correct answers in a draw to win a prize. People are sure to pay attention when there’s a prize on the line.
7. Include a photo booth
People love sharing their experiences on social media these days, so a photo booth or other type of photo opportunity is the perfect way to keep the conversation going long after your event is over. If the occasion is formal in nature, even a simple step and repeat backdrop is a great addition to your corporate event. Otherwise, if your event is casual, go all out with a photo both complete with props and costumes. Photo booths are a great way to break the ice among attendees and have them feeling more comfortable. And, the more comfortable your guests, the more likely they are to engage in activities throughout the day.
8. Make sure food and beverages are always available
Good luck getting a crowd of hungry people interested in what you have to say. By making food and beverage available throughout the entire day, people will be energized, refreshed and focused. It’s helpful to communicate the menu or food schedule in advance of the event as well. This way, people won’t be worried about when, where or how they will get food during the day. Lastly, try to serve light snacks and refreshments to tide people over between meals – water, juice, coffee, cookies and fruit are great additions to your menu.
Tip: Don’t forget to accommodate any food allergies and/or restrictions
9. Follow up with attendees after the event
Have jam-packed event full of presentations? Send any slide decks to your guests afterwards and let them know these resources will be available when the event is over. By doing so, your attendees won’t be scrambling to take notes and instead will be paying attention and engaged in your sessions. If the occasion is a party, it’s always nice to follow up, thank your attendees and share any pictures captured at the event. Guests will remember that you followed up and be more likely to attend future events.
10. Hire a professional event planner
We saved the best tip for last – if you want to throw an event that fosters collaboration, socialization and networking, a professional event planner can help bring your vision to life. An experienced event planner knows what keeps guests entertained (and what doesn’t). Your planner can focus on the nitty gritty details and provide recommendations, taking the stress off you.
Planning an event of any kind is time-consuming, overwhelming and downright stressful. Our best advice? Don’t let the stress of planning take away from the enjoyment of the event. We hope these tips help your next event become a success.
Good luck with your planning!