By Cylie Svartoien, with excerpts from Standout by Trace Kingham
For years, the typical event experience resembled a night at the theater: guests arrive only to sit down and turn their attention to the stage. If it’s a typical event, the show might feature a speaker and possibly even a video. Now, the audience wants to be heard, too. With all of the advances in event technology, there is no excuse for not including your guests in the conversation.
Guests are no longer satisfied with watching an event-they want to experience it. People are looking to be involved in the event, switching the stage to the guests and giving them a voice. So how are you engaging your guests?
In his book Standout, Trace describes an event with the American Red Cross where the audience stood up to put together over 500 safety preparedness kits. Volunteers flooded the event to distribute kit supplies to each table. The kits were assembled, labeled and stacked on the stage in less than 6 minutes:
“Laughter, giggles, partnerships all unfolded before our eyes. Each table came up with different ways to organize themselves and get the kits built in a timely manner.”
Not only did the activity pull the guests into the cause, but it created an overwhelming feeling of volunteerism in the room. Guests were proud to be a hands-on part of the mission and left the event as more than a guest, but as an active volunteer.
Simple ways to engage your guests
- Interactive activities that support your mission
- Polling technology
- Twitter feeds
- Event apps that involve the audience with the speaker
- Create energy time-outs to re-energize your guests: spontaneous dance party, giveaways, minute-to-win-it table contests
Get creative and allow your audience to be a part of your vision. By shifting your event focus to the audience, you move your guest from event observer to mission partner.
One chance for a lasting impression.