When it comes to keeping attendees interested in staying the whole course for your events, it can be challenging to hold their attention – much less have them interact with the different components of your event.
As humans, we have been given the five senses that enable us to experience the world in a myriad of ways. It’s really up to you as an event planner to decide how you want to take your attendees on a journey. Let’s take a look at how we can best engage these five senses to both keep attendees interested at your event – and also have them engage the touchpoints to leave them feeling both satisfied and happy.
Use visual content to stimulate the sense of sight. With social media technologies readily available, you can create an engaging path of touchpoints for attendees to interact with.
a. Create #hashtags
Set up the perfect environment for taking photos at your event and create a custom hashtag that features the photos that are tagged with your hashtag. Have computers display featured photos and ensure you have decent Wi-Fi for easy social media sharing. This serves to engage your attendees and get your brand out there on social media channels – real-time.
Take it one step further by creating a social media wall for all everyone to see what’s going on, making each attendee feel special with their contribution and creating a much better overall atmosphere.
b. Have giveaways
Create contests for attendees to provide content contributions live onsite. The best photo or video contributor wins a prize! This is one of the best ways to generate massive amounts of visual content in exchange for something special at an event. Attendees will feel more involved and have a more keen interest in creating visuals in exchange for something.
Nothing is more pleasant than having the right kind of sounds or music at an event. You want to create the perfect mood for your attendees – not irritate them and have them leave. Understanding your target group is important in the creation of the best audio experience they can have.
a. Set the right soundtrack
As mentioned above, you want to select the best type of music and/or sounds to use at your event. Depending on the theme, research the audio preferences of your attendees and create an appropriate soundtrack that works. If you’re feeling adventurous, step outside the comfort zone and experiment with different audio elements to create something that attendees won’t expect.
b. Brace yourself for technical difficulties
Microphone feedback, loud volumes, buzzes and crackles can really destroy the experience you’re trying to make. Ensure you have your audio professionals onsite and ready to rectify any audio issues that might happen during an event. Murphy’s Law is always prevalent. Don’t be a victim to bad comments just because you weren’t ready to fix that 5 second long microphone feedback that tore the ear drums of 1000 people.
Are you ready to whet the palates of your attendees? Do you have the proper selection of food to suit all the taste buds of your targeted demographics?
a. Choose the right catering
Select the right choices of food from the best catering companies out there – within your event budget of course. Every attendee has a dietary preference, and making sure they are well taken care of as compared to the main bulk of attendees with no preferences shows you really care. Attendees remember that.
While you shouldn’t scrimp on your catering budget and leave people hungry without food, remember that there is always food wastage from excess orders. Set the gold standard for sustainable events by finding the balance between satisfaction and overordering.
b. Have ‘tasting’ booths
Take on the sense of ‘taste’ from a completely different angle and set up booths where attendees can sample products or services that are available at your events. If the first two senses have been covered, your attendees should be more willing to participate and interact with the touchpoints you have set in place. Let attendees have a ‘taste’ of what your events have to offer. A look into VR and AR technology for events can be great factors in raising attendee interactions by letting them try out things that may not be possible physically.
The sense of smell is often neglected in an event experience. However, the selection of a fragrance at your event venue can be the one thing that makes or breaks an event.
Imagine if you stepped into a conference that’s packed with thousands of delegates and the different fragrances (or lack of) they wear come at your nose at once. That would be a sensory overload and not a good thing for an attendee to experience.
a. Choose the right smell
This goes back to the theme, venue and size of attendees coming to your event. Choose the right fragrance that can handle the previously mentioned factors and you’ll be well on your way to the best smelling event ever. Test run the smells you’ve selected before the event, bearing in mind that there are potentially many other smells that will affect the overall scent of your event due to the type of event you’re running – and the fragrances people wear.
b. Contain that smell
While you can happily scatter the fragrances all over your venue, remember to try and contain the smells within the appropriate sections of your event. You don’t want the smell of Hall A to spill into Hall B when both themes differ. It’ll just serve to confuse your attendees and probably create a really ‘smelly’ affair with their noses. You don’t want a case of ‘runny’ attendees leaving your event simply because of that.
The physical reality of your events – the final sense you want to have well taken care of. While considering the visual aspects of the props, decor, furniture and other physical objects in your event, remember – attendees will interact with these objects somehow. You want to ensure the feel is right.
a. Select the best textures
Interaction with the different touchpoints and decor at your event will be frequent, so this is something you want to bear in mind when planning your event. Should there be carpeted flooring to provide comfort for feet and soften the sounds of delegates walking? Are the surfaces of the furniture comfortable enough for attendees to network – be it seated or standing? These might seem insignificant, but a really comfortable setting (or uncomfortable depending on the theme of the event) can serve as an added trigger for an excellent event experience.
b. Choose the right shapes
Are angular objects or rounded objects better to suit the different segments of your event – or theme for that matter? You want the chosen furniture and decor to suit the event visually, yet at the same time compliment the sense of touch at the event itself.
Engage the five senses of your attendees and leave that lasting impression. Make them feel contented, engaged, enlightened – and maybe even refreshed?
When you experience something, you want to be taken on all five levels to get the best memory and fulfillment. Don’t leave attendees high and dry by taking them halfway through your event experience.
Take it all the way.
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Photo Credit: Conference classes / Cydcor / Flickr / Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0)