It seems like every day something’s changing. If I just look at my life: I’ll watch a movie, WhatsApp with a friend, snapchat my niece and Instagram the cat – all at the same time. It’s not enough to just watch the movie, I also need to talk about it, hear what other people say about it, see if its trending on twitter and find out if it’s got any chance of an Oscar nomination in the critic reviews. Just like when touring a new city, shopping for clothes, having coffee with a friend or going out for Sunday brunch; I don’t just want to sit there and be quiet – I want to have an experience. The cafe needs to offer me Wi-Fi, designer chairs and a history, the museum tour needs to bring the dinosaur bones to life and I need to feel a part of something bigger.
With consumers changing the way they process information at such a rapid rate and social networks swiftly revolutionizing the sales processes – companies have had to quickly change the way they communicate and talk to their clients. Supermarkets now offer tailored specials dependent upon what you’ve bought using their loyalty cards, airlines handle customer complaints via Facebook, manufacturers are delivering household appliances that talk to each other and that you can switch on and off via your mobile phone from the office and your fridge can even restock your milk.
So with the world at our finger tips and companies quickly catching on in their product development, sales and customer services… why aren’t corporate meetings and events more interactive?
Sadly the MICE (Meetings, Incentives, Conferences and Events) business is still behind the times. Business sessions and workshops are still often delivered in a teacher to student style and the ‘power’ of the attendees social network is not really given the attention it deserves. So here’s 8 ways to increase the interactivity of your meetings in 2016.
Be creative in your workshop and plenary design and content.
Change the seating positions, for instance, have a round stage with multiple speakers, create a décor concept that can evolve throughout the days. Connect your message to the design of the room and let attendees use the room to engage with your topic through ideas such as moving workshop pods.
Use innovative technology.
Try holographic technology to explain your technical data, create 3D projection mapping to showcase your idea or your brand that incorporates the audience and the space. Use iPads for live polling, event apps, even an LED flip chart to make writing notes that much more interesting.
Start the day the way you mean to go on.
To deliver a meeting that stands out from the rest let it begin with a bang. Why not change the way the meeting starts by having an unusual entrance, letting the attendees do warm up aerobics, or begin by developing your own companies Haka.
Include interactive networking games.
It’s not just enough to tell people to chat in the coffee break, give them the chance to get to know each other better in a creative way. Have people place their business cards in the shape of your logo, try creating a scent together or building a model out of common place household goods. Let the attendees use the right and left side of their brain because getting out of their comfort zone builds memorable connections.
Begin the event months before Day 1.
Let your event deliver more for your business by incorporating pre communication that is engaging and fun. Allow attendees to talk to each other before the event begins through an event website or app. For an incentive build the hype through company-wide mailings, pre event gifts delivered to the office or even a short competition.
Talk talk talk! With each other, on your own and to the world.
Make sure that your attendees can talk to each other at all times during the meetings by using social media to express their feelings or for an internal meeting your own portals. Use an event app to update agendas and allow people to create their own meetings during the event. Or let them ask questions directly to the speaker through live Q&A.
Don’t forget the time spent outside the meeting room.
Include networking and engaging activities in all parts of the event. Ever thought of developing interactive food stations where guests can build their own donuts, experiment with molecular ice cream or even get behind the bar creating their own cocktails. Other activities need to align with your overall event concept but have to offer people the chance to express themselves such as arranging group classes, creating an event video, integrating the event photographer into the group for those Facebook worthy photos.
It’s all about the feedback.
Use the feedback you receive from the post event surveys to communicate with your attendees one more time. Truly acknowledge negative feedback and allow attendees to have an outlet for constructive criticism. Revel in positivity and let your attendees become your event ambassadors.
The sky’s the limit with what can be included and if these ideas are still not enough or you’re looking to increase interactivity ten-fold then let’s talk.