Corporate events have specific goals. Event Planners, organizers and sponsors are constantly measuring and analyzing elements such as attendee information, demographics, workstation traffic, sales conversions, document requests and downloads, feedback, questionnaires, and—above all—RETURN on INVESTMENT. However, one of the most important elements of an event is one of the most difficult to predict, and track—how FUN is your event?
After an event is over, guest feedback can give you a better idea of the fun that attendees had. You can use questionnaires to gather numeric data about your guests’ enjoyment of the experience. Unfortunately, post-event surveys don’t allow for mid-course corrections. By the time the overall scores come in, it’s too late to change what occurred—too late to convert attendee boredom into excitement!
Many events are designed for entertainment; however, for training sessions, conferences, and meetings, fun isn’t the primary objective. Nonetheless, fun IS one of the best ways to increase creativity, social connections, involvement, and networking, and to help produce an event that really does beat records for productivity, engagement, and interaction! The best way to increase the fun factor at an event is to incorporate vibrant, exciting elements into the planning stages. Use the following suggestions as a jump-off point to spark a better overall experience!
New People and New Perspectives
Beyond the Box – there’s real truth in popular phrases such as “thinking outside the box” and “getting out of your comfort zone.” When we’re forced to try new things, we’re reminded of what we’re capable of, and we feel a rush of adrenaline once the pressure is off and we’ve succeeded. New perspectives and behaviors are always a good opportunity for fresh thinking; although some participants may prefer not to be moved outside of their routines, they’ll benefit from having the ice broken!
Social – in this age of automation and remote connection, business events continue to thrive because of the natural power of face-to-face interaction. On a day-to-day basis, we deal with convenience—using the communication methods that are fastest and easiest; however, business events create a unique opportunity for a “mandatory luxury”—the event is mandatory because your business needs it, but it is a true luxury to have time blocked off specifically for enjoying the company of other individuals in your industry, forming real connections based on conversations and shared experiences. Business events are a wonderful chance to expand your own personal/professional network—a chance to belong. Mixers, networking games, scavenger hunts, charitable endeavors, creativity-building projects, team-building exercises, charity involvement, and trivia challenges . . . the list of social networking activities is nearly endless and the benefits are limitless.
Personalization – events benefit when attendees make connections with other guests. Events also benefit when Event Managers make connections with individual guests through personalization. It is fun to be noticed, acknowledged, to feel like a star—conversely, NO ONE wants to feel like a number, to feel inconspicuous, irrelevant, and invisible. For Event Planners, personally welcoming each attendee may be difficult—from a time management, logistics and staffing perspective. Happily, with a little planning, technology can stand in! With attendee badges or RFID bands and event apps, registration, ticketing, scheduling, customized attendee preferences, and personalized greetings all help to deliver the important message—WE are GLAD you are HERE!
Technology that Inspires
Moving into the specific technology that inspires us, we offer the following suggestions of tech options that open eyes, make us reach out, and engage our imaginations!
Video Walls – customized video walls are impossible to ignore. From their eye-popping size to their customization potential, a video wall grabs attention and takes us out of the routine. Yes we have screens. Yes we have televisions. NO—they do NOT take up an entire wall! The content of the video wall is up to you—it can be customized to the live action of the event itself, it can be purely promotional, or a combination of both. A good technology provider can assemble a video wall in nearly any configuration. Imagine walking into a room and seeing YOURSELF on a mega-screen!
Touchscreens – moving from inspirationally large video walls, down to extremely personal iPad touchscreens, the ability to interact with, direct, and control technology is innately inviting. Touchscreen kiosks, iPads, and touch screen monitors all tap into our curiosity and our self-awareness. Touchscreens literally connect us to the technology that brings the connections we need. They’re fun!
Video Mapping – amazing event lighting is one of the simplest ways to elevate an event venue from average to astonishing. Video projection mapping (also called video mapping or projection mapping) is lighting technology that turns any flat or three-dimensional object(s) into a display surface for DYNAMIC video projection. It can easily turn a conference room into a wonderland.
Charging Station Lounges – we’ve discussed the benefits of technology lounges in the past. Simply put, a charging station lounge is a chance for your guests to RECHARGE! On the practical side, a charging station lounge allows guests to keep their devices fully powered while they’re out and about. On the FUN side, charging station lounges are a great opportunity to bring people together for constructive relaxation. Consider a massage station, gaming area, art installation, or creativity station to get guests playing, creating, conversing, relaxing, and having FUN!