How To Grab the Attention of Your Event Attendees – 4 Helpful Tips
Most, seasoned event planners know that people’s attention is a scarce resource. An average person has only so much of it and then you have to compete with their smartphones for grabbing it. There are some studies that claim many of us have attention spans shorter than that of a goldfish!(1)
Needless to say, none of your attendees would be happy to spend their entire day trying to focus on a 50-page PowerPoint presentation!
So, how do we ensure our event attendees take away a ton of value from a presentation or an event we are planning? The answer is: by ensuring most of their attention stays on your event rather than on their phones or something else. But how exactly do we grab their attention? Read on for some expert tips and advice on this topic.
Tip #1: Talk Less, Show More
We are no strangers to TED Talks. These presentations are usually quite compelling and engaging. Most presenters use images accompanied by their speech in order to make the audience follow their story while also providing them beautiful visual clues. This simple trick helps the audience visualise the presenter’s achievements while also maintaining their interest until the end of the presentation.
It’s a great idea to accompany the speech with more visual elements. Let them experience the story or message from various angles with the help of images, videos, or other forms of media illustration. Keep them interested in your narrative until the very end by speaking less.
Tip #2: Make Things Fun for the Audience
These days, if you really want to keep your event attendees engaged, you need to make sure your event is fun. Want some ideas? Try event gamification. Just about any kind of event can benefit from the inclusion of fun elements.
Here are a couple of examples to show what kind of elements you can add to your event for entertaining the attendees:
- Deliver product training sessions by using virtual reality or augmented reality.
- Organise a scavenger hunt. Make it last for the entire length of the event. You can drop the last clue in the final keynote speech.
- Hire professionals (musicians or magicians, for example) to provide high-quality entertainment throughout the course of the event.
The options are virtually endless! But regardless of which fun element you choose to include into your event, one thing is for sure – the attendees will not just appreciate the much-required break but also enjoy it!
Tip #3: Build a Strong Sense of Awe and Curiosity throughout the event
One of the best ways a speaker can capture the attention of its audience and make them feel curious about the presentation is by delivering them a promise right at the beginning of the presentation. Depending on your case, maybe you could promise that you are going to reveal the solution to a burning problem that your audience might have, for example. This will raise the audience’s curiosity and also make them focus on the presentation/speech.
Another way of building a strong sense of curiosity in the minds of your audience is to begin the presentation with a counterintuitive or surprising piece of information. Most of the time, this trick is enough to capture their attention immediately and keep them interested.
But try and make sure you do deliver whatever you promise the audience and not disappoint them; otherwise, it can have the opposite effect of engagement.
Tip #4: Encourage Speakers to Share More of Their Personal Experiences
Have you ever noticed that it’s a lot more engaging to hear a speaker share their personal stories? This usually happens because as attendees we can relate more with not just the presentation but with the speaker too. So, encourage your speaker(s) to share their personal experiences with the audience, and not just their corporate messages.
As an added benefit, the speaker can gain more empathy from the audience and also keep their interest in what’s coming next in the presentation. A simple trick that may seem obvious but something we see so many people miss out of their presentations, opting to instead attempt to ram corporate info and statistics down the throats of their audience.
Many professionals in the field of event planning are very skilled at setting up the stage for a best-in-class event, but still, some of them forget that there are certain elements that can take a presentation or event from mediocre to truly engaging.
For those of you who are keen to bring engagement to the forefront of your events, this post should be a helpful start, but is by no means a complete guide!
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