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BTS: How to Nail Crowd Engagement

Picture this: You’re standing behind the scenes at a corporate gathering, taking note of what you see. As you gaze out at the attendees, all sitting in rows in a...

Picture this: You’re standing behind the scenes at a corporate gathering, taking note of what you see. As you gaze out at the attendees, all sitting in rows in a seemingly sterile hotel conference room, you can’t help but feel a pit in your stomach as you notice the look on their faces. Sheer boredom seems to transcend through the air, and as you hear the drone of the keynote speaker’s monotonous voice (you have no idea what they’re even saying, by the way), you lose count of the number of yawns taking place in the crowd. 

When it’s finally time for the next part of the show, you could hear a pin drop during the transition. It’s hard to summarize what’s happening in just one word, but there are a few that come to mind: awkward, boring, and unmemorable.

Now, picture THIS: You’re standing in the exact same spot at the same corporate gathering…but what you see is entirely different. Rather than rows, chairs are placed in circles around tables, which naturally leads to more face-to-face connection between attendees. There are even conversation cards placed strategically on the tables, fostering unique chats between people who may have just met a few hours ago! Full-on belly laughs rumble through the room as the keynote speaker (who also serves as the emcee, aka the glue of event transitions) shares moments of humor throughout their talk on leadership. You can’t help but notice how not a SINGLE person takes their cell phone out or checks the time on their watch. Instead, they’re laser-focused on what the speaker is sharing and vigorously writing in their workbook (which was provided by the speaker/event production company). You (and everyone else) can literally FEEL the positive energy in the room. 

The perfect music magically comes through the speakers just as the speaker finishes their talk, and they jump right into inviting everyone to stand to their feet and participate in a fun (and theme-appropriate) game before transitioning to the next part of the event. 

Do you know the difference between these two events!? 

It all comes down to one thing, and it also happens to (undoubtedly) be what we’re best known for here at Elevate: crowd engagement. 

Here’s the thing – there are a LOT of things you can’t control at your next event, but crowd engagement is something you can and in our opinion, should control! 

Let’s break it down a bit…because even though the example above paints a pretty good picture of how crowd engagement can make a difference in how an event FEELS, it’s valuable to understand what it really means. 

Crowd engagement at an event refers to the active participation, interaction, and positive connection between the audience and the event itself. It involves creating an immersive and dynamic experience that captivates attendees, keeping them involved and excited throughout the experience! 

Crowd engagement encompasses various strategies – including interactive activities, surprise elements, technological innovations, and personal connections, all designed to elicit a positive response from the audience (both internally and externally).

Effective crowd engagement goes beyond the traditional notion of attendees simply being spectators (i.e. just sitting in the crowd); it transforms them into active participants who contribute to the overall energy and atmosphere of the event. 

If your goal when planning an event is to create a memorable and enjoyable experience that leaves a lasting impression on the audience, then crowd engagement is key!

Okay, so CLEARLY we’re passionate about this topic. And as this month’s part of our Behind the Scenes Blog Series, we want to share a few helpful thoughts, tips, and insights about why crowd engagement is so important, and how to nail it at your next event(s). 

The importance of crowd engagement can be highlighted in various aspects:

  • Enhanced Attendee Experience: When the audience is actively involved and excited, they are more likely to remember and cherish the event. Engaging activities, interactive sessions, and surprises elevate the event from a passive experience to an immersive one. 

  • Increased Event Success and Reputation: Events that successfully engage their audience are more likely to be deemed successful. Positive experiences lead to positive reviews and word-of-mouth recommendations. This, in turn, attracts more attendees for future events and establishes YOU and your team as a reliable and innovative force.

  • Brand Building and Marketing: Engaged attendees are likely to share their experiences on social media, which is always a good thing. Positive engagement contributes to the brand image, creating a connection between the audience and the event or brand.

  • Increased Sponsor and Partner Satisfaction: When attendees are actively participating and enjoying the event, sponsors receive more visibility and value for their investment. Satisfied sponsors are more likely to continue their partnerships and support future events.

  • Optimized Audience Participation: Engaged crowds are more likely to participate in various aspects of the event, from interactive sessions and Q&A segments to contests and surveys. This active participation not only enhances the event's vibrancy but also provides valuable insights and feedback for future improvements.

  • Creation of Lasting Memories: Memorable events are those that leave a lasting impact on attendees. Attendees are more likely to remember and talk about events where they felt a personal connection and actively participated. Furthermore, if you’re planning an event for your team/staff, this connection and creation of memories directly contribute to employee satisfaction and therefore, retention of talent. 

    5 Tips to Help You Nail Crowd Engagement at Your Next Event

    1. Early Buzz Builds Lasting Excitement: Effective crowd engagement (aka ENERGY) begins long before the event doors open. Create anticipation by leveraging social media, email campaigns, and teaser content. Generate excitement through countdowns, behind-the-scenes glimpses, and exclusive sneak peeks. Starting early ensures that the crowd arrives with a sense of anticipation, ready for an unforgettable experience.

    1. Craft Personal Connections: In the age of digital interaction, creating personal connections is more crucial than ever. Inviting attendees to actively participate in conversations with each other and event hosts will make them feel like they are part of something special, ultimately creating a sense of intimacy that transcends the physical boundaries of the event venue.

    1. Interactive Experiences Keep Audiences Engaged: Transform your event into a two-way street of interaction. Incorporate live polls, Q&A sessions, interactive challenges, and yes…games! Leverage technology to create seamless and real-time engagement opportunities. Encourage attendees to actively participate, turning the event into a collaborative experience that they can really feel a part of. 

    1. Surprises Add the Wow Factor: Truth bomb - Nothing captivates an audience more than the unexpected. Plan surprise elements throughout the event – it could be a special guest appearance, a prize giveaway, or an impromptu performance. These surprises inject a burst of excitement, leaving attendees buzzing with excitement.

    1. Embrace Technology! While it can sometimes feel intimidating, incorporating cutting-edge technology at your event can create a visually stunning and immersive experience. From LED displays to interactive installations, technology can elevate the overall atmosphere of the event and create unique opportunities for the crowd to participate in activities. 

    BONUS TIP: Stay Responsive and Read the Crowd. Flexibility is key to successful crowd engagement. The ability to monitor audience reactions and adapt accordingly can be a game-changer! 

    So there you have it – now you not only know WHY crowd engagement is so wildly important, but you also know how to apply that knowledge at your next event. 

    Alas, we cannot end this blog without pointing out the obvious: this is a LOT to consider. And the truth is, you shouldn’t have to do it alone! Just like you trust your favorite barista to create that beautiful latte art that would look like a foamy, spilling mess if you tried it at home, event experts (ahem, like US) exist to help carry the weight of creating remarkable experiences!

    We’ve made it our mission to eliminate the plague of boring events, and in our humble opinion, crowd engagement is THE avenue to make that happen. 

    Hundreds of companies have trusted us to think through EVERYTHING you just read on their behalf, inviting us to help them create an experience that people remember. 

    If that sounds like something you’re wanting/needing in the days ahead, we’d love to come alongside you and help. 

    CLICK HERE to drop us a line, or send us a DM on Instagram @eventspeoplelove


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