DEFINING AUDIENCE ENGAGEMENT

It is widely accepted that audience engagement is the goal of every successful event and, although a clear definition is hard to come by, there are certain elements which most would agree it encompasses:

Interaction
A two-way dialogue with attendees is an integral part of engaging your event audience. Turn them into active participants whether that be verbally, via the use of technology or practical involvement.

Emotional involvement
Audience engagement also refers to engaging the attention of your audience. This requires emotional involvement of the participant – they must be interested, they must care and have an emotional investment in the outcome of the event.

Desired outcome
An event strategy should always lead to a desired outcome whether that be a change of opinion or attitude, agreeing a certain course of action or building lasting relationships for the future. Audience engagement is the art of creating those outcomes in the minds of the attendees.

Technology
We believe that audience engagement can, in part, be achieved through the appropriate use of technology. At its best, technology can facilitate a connection between audience and stage, between participants and enable the creation of new insights, ideas and solutions. Our goal is always to elevate the role of event technology from the mediocrity of convenience or novelty to these higher goals.

Why is it important?

Improved learning and recall

Improved learning and recall

When attendees are emotionally involved and committed (in other words, ‘engaged’) they learn and retain more.

Improved enjoyment and relevance

Improved enjoyment and relevance

Interaction is one of the critical areas where it is possible to really excite the audience and achieve the greatest positive impact on attendees’ overall event experience. An enjoyable experience will be more memorable and have a lasting impact.

Impact

Impact

With increased involvement, comes increased impact. Attendees who have been engaged at an event are more likely to change their behaviour beyond the event as a result. Also, there is likely to be an increase in referrals and recommendations.

Experience economy

Experience economy

Today’s attendees expect to co-participate and engage with the facilitator to improve relevance and involvement. In many aspects of modern lives, they are used to interactivity enhanced by technology. From Twitter and Facebook to TripAdvisor and Instagram, people expect to be active consumers of content. Rather they expect to be able to influence the direction of things and this is also true for meetings and events.

Audience engagement and how to go about it

Audience engagement can only happen when all the event’s stakeholders work together to achieve it.

The event planner needs to understand how the audience engagement can be facilitated through technology, venue layout and logistics and ensure everything is in place to support.

The creative and design team need to plan audience engagement into the agenda and event content inside and outside of the presentations.

The speakers and on-stage moderator play a key role in encouraging participation, facilitating the use of interactive technology and responding/ working with audience insights.

The attendees need the permission to engage and to feel that their engagement will be acknowledged and rewarded: “if I bother to engage, something will happen”.

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