Attendee engagement is key to any event’s success, whether it’s an internal sales meeting or a corporate-level networking exchange. Turning passive participants into active ones unlocks measurable improvements for every event stakeholder.

For example, increased engagement leads to improved learning and retention for attendees. At the same time, the motivation attendees receive from an engaging event boosts brand loyalty. Most importantly, event engagement builds the authentic connections that support business growth.

If you’re ready to enjoy these benefits (and more!), try these engagement-boosting strategies at your next event.

Optimizing Agenda and Meeting Flow for Event Engagement

Reflect on your last event: how did the attendees respond? What did the surveys say? And most importantly, what can you learn from the experience? It’s critical to understand what went well previously if you want to make your next event bigger and better.

As you reflect, consider your next event’s goals. Start by defining your desired outcome, then work backward to create strategies for reaching that result.

Whatever your goal, content is king. Your entire agenda needs to be relevant and impactful to the event attendees. After all, they’re more than the headcount you need to order coffee for — they’re the event’s stakeholders.

Here are some ways you can optimize your agenda:

  • Keep sessions brief. Meetings longer than 45 minutes lose engagement.
  • Make it interactive. Include people in the event through agenda items like workshops or Q&As.
  • Build in breaks. Balance sessions with free time so attendees can decompress, grab coffee, call the boss, and ingest what they’ve learned.
  • Plan for transitions. To keep things running smoothly, decide how to move from one session to another ahead of time.

Throughout all of this, try to foster a collaborative environment for networking. Cliques can easily form at any event, especially if it’s annual. People tend to gravitate toward others they already know, so it’s important to make collaboration a best practice.

Planning Strategic Seating and Room Setup

The way you design your space affects event engagement. It’s important to start with a strong concept long before the event. At innoVia, we provide computer-aided design (CAD) drawings and renderings, which set visual expectations long before the event.

The most important element of strategic room setup is space. It’s crucial to know what kind of space you need for your desired seating and event technology. If you expect 100 people to show up for a hot-topic session, you need a room that not only comfortably fits 100 people but also has space for the audiovisual.

Predicting what attendees need ahead of time also brings an event to life. Nowadays, everybody brings their own laptop or tablet to take notes on; therefore, classroom seating works.

The seating layout that increases engagement is crescent-style seating, which makes learning pods more interactive than traditional rows of classroom seating.

Also, if your general session is held in a basement — which is common in large, older hotels — consider how that impacts Wi-Fi and connectivity.

Quote Card: How to Increase Attendee Engagement at Your Events

Incorporating Digital Engagement

Digital engagement is all about pulling in different platforms to captivate your audience. It breaks down barriers, driving more participation and opening events up to more attendees and presenters.

Our goal at innoVia is to make events as interactive as possible, from the first fixture an attendee sees to the last. Some examples of great tools for enhancing digital engagement include:

  • Digital signage: This guarantees that attendees encounter some type of branding right away. They can serve as engaging directional tools, too. 
  • Video mapping: One of our favorite things to do at innoVia is turn raw space, like a cement wall, into an engaging journey using video mapping technology.
  • Interactive displays: Walls where attendees interact with speakers and teams, look at the agenda, and more have been popular. You can also use social media walls to increase participation by increasing content.
  • Sensory experiences: Boost intrigue by immersing your attendees in a world of mystery. You can harness immersive qualities through sound, lighting, and even vibration.
  • Audience response systems: Platforms like Slido crowdsource hot-topic questions for Q&As and engage attendees with live polls.
  • Remote simultaneous interpretation (RSI): RSI helps overcome language barriers for international events.
  • Live streaming platforms: Live streaming is especially important for engaging remote audiences. It gives them real-time access to an event from anywhere.

Digital engagement tools like these significantly increase meeting ROI. We’ve found that using digital engagement strategies easily transitions participants from passive to active, increasing engagement and retention.

Infographic: How to Increase Attendee Engagement at Your Events


Managing Hybrid Event Engagement

Hybrid events require extra effort to keep remote attendees engaged. As you plan a hybrid event, keep these three crucial considerations in mind:

Technology is key

Ensure you have a knowledgeable and forward-thinking technology director who understands the event’s goals and how to achieve them.

Rehearse, rehearse, rehearse

Don’t jump into a hybrid event at the eleventh hour. Rehearsal ensures everything runs smoothly.

Over-communicate timing

Ensure every team member involved with broadcasting knows the timetable and their cues.

Looking Ahead: Engagement Trends for the Future

Event engagement is never static. New technologies are already affecting attendee expectations.

For example, everybody’s heard about artificial intelligence, and now the industry uses it to analyze attendee data and deliver personalized experiences. Using AI, data analytics, and algorithms, we can better learn what engaged participants and what didn’t.

Gamification is also a growing element of event engagement. Interactive elements like leaderboards and challenges tap into people’s competitive nature to boost engagement, which is especially great for sales meetings.

Another useful technology on the rise is virtual and augmented reality. These technologies create an even more immersive experience for attendees.

Building the “Wow” Behind Your “Why”

Engagement turns a passive audience into active participants. At innoVia Productions, we curate your story and bring your unique messaging, vision, and goals to life through expert digital engagement strategies and scenic staging inspirations.

We want to build the “wow” behind your “why.” Contact us today to get started.