Successful businesses understand the importance and value of their employees. Employers are more cognizant these days that employee satisfaction and retention are a necessary building block for success.
Corporate events with a focus on employee engagement (EE) have become vital for business success.
In this article, we will explore 100 ways to improve engagement at your corporate events, ensuring that they leave a lasting impact on your participants.
Two decades ago, Forbes published an article on the importance of employee engagement (EE) and its benefit for employees and employers alike. A definition of employee engagement is how much an employee is committed to helping their organization achieve its goals. Highly engaged employees have a sense of pride in their work, they go above and beyond their job duties. When employees feel vital and appreciated, the connection they feel increases.
Engagement is just as important in events as it is in the workplace. This term refers to the level of participation, interaction, and connection which event attendees experience during your corporate event. Engaged guests are more likely to enjoy the event, be present during breakout sessions, and more inclined to network. These factors can, in turn, boost your ROI for every event.
Event engagement is the magic that turns a gathering of individuals into a vibrant, meaningful, and memorable experience. Engaged attendees are more likely to absorb information, build relationships, and leave with a positive impression of your company. How do you ensure your guests remain engaged before, during, and after the event? In this article, we’ll give 100 ways to improve your event engagement at all stages.
Engagement at corporate events has numerous benefits:
- Boosted Productivity: Engaged employees are more productive and motivated.
- Stronger Connections: Attendees forge meaningful relationships.
- Enhanced Learning: Engagement makes it easier for attendees to absorb and apply new knowledge.
- Positive Brand Perception: Engaging events reflect positively on your company.
- Increased ROI: Engaged participants are more likely to become clients or advocates.
How to Improve Event Engagement
Improving event engagement requires careful planning and execution. Let’s break down 100 effective strategies to create engaging corporate events.
Before the Event
- Set clear goals and objectives for the event.
- Create a detailed agenda and share it with attendees in advance.
- Promote the event heavily and make it easy for people to register.
- Survey attendees to find out what they’re most interested in and want to learn about.
- Partner with vendors and sponsors who can offer unique and engaging experiences.
- Consider personalized invitations to pump guests up about the upcoming event.
- Utilize a dedicated website or landing page to post updates about the event.
- Email attendees with updates and reminders to keep their excitement high.
- Implement an online pre-registration to ensure ease of access.
- Offer opt-in text messaging for updates and schedule personalized texts at regular interval.
- Set up social media accounts for the event across various platforms
- Create a personalized #hashtag for the event and invite registrants to use it when posting about the upcoming event
- Use text messaging or email (offer recipients a choice) to ask what they hope to get from the experience.
During the Event
- Create a welcoming and inclusive atmosphere.
- Use a variety of formats to keep attendees engaged.
- Encourage audience participation.
- Take breaks throughout the day to give people a chance to rest and recharge.
- Provide opportunities for networking.
- Use social media to keep attendees engaged and share event highlights.
- Give attendees a chance to learn and grow.
- Celebrate successes and recognize individual and team achievements.
- Have a media wall displaying attendee social media posts.
- Make a game of locating the individual in each post and give a prize to the attendee who locates and correctly identifies the creator.
- Get attendees involved through live polling.
- Schedule short little games at regular intervals to keep everyone active and sustain engagement.
- Continue regular interactions to sustain engagement.
- Another way to gauge engagement is by comparing the number of RSVPs to the number of people who remained through the entire function.
- Hire someone to come in as any other attendee, giving you a report of what worked, what didn’t, and what people couldn’t stop talking about.
After the Event
- Send attendees a follow-up email thanking them for attending and providing them with resources from the event.
- Survey attendees to get feedback on the event and identify areas for improvement.
- Follow up with attendees to inquire if the event met their expectations.
- Create a networking event after the event by hosting a small group of attendees with the goal being to mingle again and get to know one another a little better.
- Set up a casual virtual networking follow-up with attendees.
- Invest as much time and energy in post-event engagement as you did in pre-event.
- Increase the frequency of post-event social media posts and blog articles showcasing the fun everyone had.
- Take advantage of the event content you’ve accumulated! Create a content drip to ensure guests remain excited for the next event.
- Send personal thank you messages to all attendees.
- Consider gifting attendees an exclusive post-event offer.
- Host a social media contest.
- Monitor website traffic for new escalation or de-escalation. This actually gives you a pretty good idea of how things measured up to attendee expectation.
The gamification of socialization is an important aspect to not only improve networking but to ensure attendees are engaged at all points. Keeping them entertained and in the moment will ensure engagement remains high throughout the event.
- Turn early registration into a competition! Put out the word that pre-registrants’ names will be used in a blind draw for a prize. This will boost excitement for your event and serve as a fun way to promote early registration. Don’t forget to award a prize!
- For prime networking, notify attendees that the person with the most referrals will be awarded a special prize.
- Gamification apps such as Webooth and Snapbar make sharing moments from the evening easy peasy!
- There are so many options for networking— face-to-face at the event, DM, or group chat sessions!
- Since you have to circulate anyway, use the opportunity to give attendees random compliments [their friendliness to others, superb manners, etc.] along with points or a small token.
- If you want to really up your excitement factor, integrated gaming solutions like Drimify and Engamio allow you to design and launch interactive games within your virtual event.
- Some areas of the event you may want to gamify include product tours, branded pages, and important speaker sessions. Keep in mind, the right event gamification strategy lets you guide the attendee journey.
- Whether it’s splitting attendees into teams for a specific challenge, competing in an event-wide virtual game, or sharing their best workplace story to win a prize, use your gamification strategy to break the ice and encourage attendees to get to know each other from the very first session.
- Ask the event moderator to give regular shout-outs to the top players.
- Use a leaderboard to track participants’ progress and reward them for participating in activities.
- Offer badges or other digital rewards for completing challenges.
- Create a competitive environment by having teams compete against each other for networking points.
- For example, you could award a special badge to anyone who answers a live poll or trivia question or attends a specific session or booth. You can even allow attendees to swap collectible badges or “cards” as a way to organically boost the amount of live networking exchanges.
- Consider holding a fun awards ceremony! Guests can utilize your event app to vote on categories like “most personable” or “best dressed”. This encourages engagement and serves as a fun icebreaker for your attendees.
Technology is incredibly helpful in boosting engagement. Whether it’s a part of your product launch event (as seen in this case study) or a part of your event badges, the utilization of tech can ensure your guests interact and enjoy themselves even more.
- Integration of Virtual Reality (VR) and/or Augmented Reality (AR) into any area of your event gives it a cool, futuristic vibe.
- Contactless check-in is simple and fast. Many attendees have gotten used to the convenience and safety of contactless service, so it feels reassuring rather than cold and artificial.
- 3D event diagrams are a great tool for event planners, but they can also be used by guests to navigate the venue.
- If you haven’t already, familiarize yourself with event apps. Event apps allow you to upload and store all your personal branding elements. They encourage and assist networking by offering users chat, polling, and Q&A sessions.
- Have scannable QR codes in key points at the event, such as a product display. Guests can scan the codes and learn more about the subject. This keeps your attendees engaged mentally even during slow parts of the event.
- Utilize tech in your event badges! We have an article devoted to the design (and implementation of technology) of event badges. This can give your guests simple ways to network, engage with the event, and more.
- Each station, booth, display is an opportunity for engagement. Give attendees a reason to stop, chat, and network.
- Use your event app to send push notifications reminding attendees of upcoming speakers, presentations, and workshops throughout the course of the event.
- Utilize phone charging stations throughout the event space. If possible, place phone charging stations in meeting rooms or around the stage where a speaker will be, so guests can charge their phones and disconnect for a moment to fully experience the event.
There is no better way to improve engagement than to add personalized elements to the event. During registration, gather personalized data to use in your event. Things like name and preference of pronouns, shirt size/type, and other data can help you add a customized level that is sure to improve engagement at corporate events.
- Lanyards/Name Tags with Preferred Pronouns
- Custom Printed Swag: we recommend silk screening right on site where guests can select the design of their choice and watch it printed before their eyes!
- Selection of their experience – such as options to signup for different excursions
- Make-Your-Own: customized options for souvenirs that allow guests to personalize.
- Tailored Agenda & Schedules: Plan for multiple paths and a signup during registration
- Event App Driven Personalized Notices & Recommendations
- Empower Guests with MC led Personal Shout-outs
Food and beverage is a vital part of corporate events. By utilizing engaging food options or displays, you can take your event to new heights.
- Including self-serve mini-nibbles such as tapas at beverage stations will also give people a reason to gather and chat.
- Some attendees avoid eating at functions because they fear having dragon breath. Bowls of individually wrapped mints are a nice touch, plus they present a branding opportunity!
- Utilize action stations and creative forms of catering displays, which we go in-depth about in our catering displays article. These keep guests excited and engaged while giving them a medium to network, mingle, and bond over.
- Offer a variety of food and beverage options, including healthier options.
- Have food stations throughout the event space so that attendees don’t have to wait in long lines.
- Provide attendees with plenty of water and other non-alcoholic beverages.
- Inquire about specific dietary requirements during the pre-event planning. Once the tentative menu is provided to you, follow up with attendees. Inquire if they have any concerns about food and beverage options.
- Ensure adequate and accurate signage is displayed to give guests the full menu of options, as well as show what they can eat per dietary restrictions.
Seating and Accommodations
Ensuring your event is ADA compliant, as well as laid out well, is crucial to ensuring everyone can engage fully. Whether it’s the flow of the event or ADA accessibility, your guests are sure to appreciate the time and thought put into your event.
- Provide ramps and clear paths for wheelchair users.
- Make sure there is enough space for people to move around and network.
- Ensure restrooms are ADA accessible.
- Take time to walk from the entrance through the venue including restrooms. Is the space and setup easy for those with limited mobility to navigate?
- Provide a designated space that is a bit quieter and less brightly lit for anyone not feeling well or feeling overwhelmed.
- If possible, create an area specifically for those who are pregnant and/or nursing.
- Include ASL and bilingual translators when possible or needed. This ensures every attendee is able to participate in the event and make the most out of every segment.
Contingency Plans Keep Engagement High!
Despite any unforeseen hiccups, having contingency plans ensures your guests don’t disengage during them. Our event coordinators have backup plans atop backup plans, to ensure that, no matter what, the event keeps running smoothly and guests remain excited and engaged.
- Have a plan in place for bad weather or other unforeseen events.
- Have a backup location in case the primary event space becomes unavailable.
- Have a team of people who are prepared to handle any problems that may arise.
- Make a list of things that might go wrong along with contingency plans.
- Have a backup for servers and other venue staff.
- Make a list with contact information for the local tow company, cabs, and other ride services.
- What if the lights go out? Most venues do not allow open flames, so battery-operated candles and flashlights are great to have on hand!
- Every venue should be equipped with at least one up to date first aid kit!
Measuring Event Engagement
Post-event data analytics are vital when planning your next event. There are countless ways to measure the engagement rates of your event. Here are a few:
- Collect data about message open rates and compare them to actual attendance numbers, to find out which parts of your event kept your audience most engaged.
- You can use email the same way. Using a tool like Mailchimp or Aweber, you can collect email data and compare it to attendance figures to deepen your understanding of what grabbed your audience’s attention the most.
- Reviewing app and email data can also inform your planning for future events, as you’ll know which event attractions performed best.
- Track the hashtag you created to see what attendees truly think about the event.
- Use an app such as Hootsuite to set up an alert for your hashtag. This allows you to what attendees truly thought about the event based on app activity.
- While reviewing app activity, take note of what attendees liked and what they didn’t.
- Attendee app interaction will help to assist you in planning future content and events.
- Use quotes from event speakers to create social media posts.
- Don’t forget to create new blog posts summarizing event highlights and key takeaways.
- Using post-event information you collected, create vibrant eye-catching infographics.
- One of the very best ways to measure event success is to monitor your follower count.
- Send out a survey to attendees to learn more about their experience.
- If you use event badges with tech features as mentioned above, collect data points on where attendees spent the most time to measure their engagement in all aspects of the event.
- Put the data you’ve collected on the event to use by tweaking your next event accordingly. This will ensure future ROI is even better than the last!
Engagement at corporate events ensures they are successful. Keeping attendees’ spirits high is something our event planning firm excels at. If you’d like a consultation from experienced event planners who can ensure your engagement is at its peak, fill out the form below. Here’s to a successful, engaging corporate event!
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