In the traditional company event model, employees are gathered together and asked to turn their attention to the stage so they can be given some form of information. Even the pre-event communication is all about the speaker: come and hear an impressive individual tell the inspiring story of how they overcame a challenge and achieved overwhelming success! Then we will take those lessons so our company will achieve the same level of success!
While the whole point of these events is to achieve specific stakeholder goals, companies and event planners are increasingly turning away from the old model and attempting to create more interactive events. Instead of one-way communication through keynote speakers and PowerPoint decks, the industry is pulling the attention off of the stage and trying to make these events interactive for attendees.
Planning an interactive and engaging corporate event requires strategic planning and attention to detail from event planners, but fortunately, it’s not that difficult. Here are three easy steps to help you plan a more interactive company event.
1. Ask for Attendee Input
The easiest way to plan a corporate event that will engage your attendees is to ask them for input! Tapping into the thoughts and ideas of the attendees before deciding on your agenda items not only gives you great ideas, but it also places your attendees squarely at the center of your event, making them feel important and included.
While you may not be able to use all of the ideas you will get from your attendees, giving them a platform to provide input helps you to align their goals with the objectives of your stakeholders. Instead of a one-way knowledge transfer, creating this alignment will increase attendee engagement and interaction with the event content, ultimately achieving the goals of both your stakeholders and attendees — which is a big win for everyone.
2. Enlist the Help of Vendors Who Specialize in Interactive Events
Planning a highly interactive event that encourages higher levels of engagement than traditional presentations will challenge event planners to think about the planning process differently. Fortunately, creating an interactive event doesn’t have to put a huge strain on your team, time, and resources — you just need to find the right expert.
When searching for just the right vendor to work with on your event, there are some important things to consider:
- Can their activities be customized to address the specific objectives of your attendees and stakeholders?
- Are the activities they specialize in fun and engaging?
- How do they work with your own event team?
The goal is to find a vendor who will partner with you to deliver fun, engaging activities that are highly relevant, and do so in a manner that fits into your overall event plan.
3. Mix Things Up
From the room layouts, to the flow of the venue, to the activities you select, challenge yourself and your event planning team to find unique and memorable ways to make every part of the event interactive.
- Instead of a traditional lunch buffet, try a taco bar with all of the fixings so attendees can create their ideal tacos or salads
- Instead of rows of chairs, try different seating configurations so attendees can talk to each other
- Instead of an empty room or lobby for networking, make it a lounge with a variety of seating options, local art, or even table games
The best part is that making an event interactive and fun doesn’t have to be complicated. Remember to use the input from your attendees to get you thinking!
In the end, you want your company event to be an experience, not just another meeting. You don’t want people to sit down, enjoy some good food, watch a keynote speech, then go home. You want them to engage throughout the entire process — before, during, and after — and walk away feeling passion and excitement about what they just experienced and ready to apply it in their daily life. Making your event interactive doesn’t have to be difficult, you just have to be willing to step outside of the traditional model. Considering your attendees’ input, choosing the right vendors, and mixing things up a little, are all it takes to get you there.