5 Techniques for Increasing Attendee Engagement

Immersive experiences. 2015 meeting trends, 2015 event trends
Attendee immersion and feedback via audience response apps and social media is a top event trend for 2015.

Meetings and events that increase attendee engagement will dominate the coming year, according to the 2015 Event Industry Trends report released by the Event Manager Blog and etouches. Whether this means inviting attendees to secret event locations, stimulating their five senses, or having them build buzz via social media, it’s all about making them the center of immersive experiences.

Here are five techniques for attendee immersion identified in the report:

1. Let attendees speak.
From throwable microphones that are passed around the audience to audience response apps that offer immediate feedback, letting attendees weigh in will become increasingly important.

2. Involve them in choices.
This might mean having attendees vote on the music at an event, or letting them direct a video camera that captures shots of fellow party-goers. Have them join in the decision-making around the production of the event.

3. Use micro-location.
The next step in smartphone apps will be to accurately locate the attendee using beacons, allowing them to join a competitions with a simple swipe of their phones or to control their show floor maps as they walk around.

4. Expand the role of speakers into performers.
Speakers are becoming facilitators, instigators and community leaders, and interacting more with both the live and virtual audience.

5. Stimulate the five senses.
By connecting attendees using the sense of smell or making them feel part of the lighting of the event, planners create an experience that is worth attending and spreading the word about.

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Barbara Scofidio is editor of Prevue and heads up the Visionary Summits, our exclusive conference series targeting senior-level meeting and incentive planners. In 25 years of covering the industry, her articles have spanned topics ranging from social media to strategic meetings management. She is currently the media liaison for FICP's Education Committee and was the first member of the media ever to be invited to sit on a committee by GBTA, where she spent three years on the Groups and Meetings Committee. She has also been an active member of Site, chairing its Crystal Awards committee and acting as a judge. A familiar face at industry events, Barbara often leads panel discussions or speaks on topics close to her heart, such as green meetings or how the industry can help combat human trafficking. She is also on the board of ECPAT USA, the human trafficking organization. Barbara is based outside Boston, in Groton, Mass.