Experiential company events are currently buzzing around the meeting professional industry, and for good reason! Time and time again, we have seen experiential events get rave reviews from attendees. Attendees love them because they provide a welcome change of pace by getting people out of the office, out of their seats, and involved in the event. Here’s how they work: each experience involves an immersive, themed, game-like activity where attendees are given a challenging task with a set of objectives to meet in a set period of time. These game-like experiences often mirror real-world challenges, allowing attendees to develop new skills in a safe environment. After the experience, a facilitator draws the parallels and offers ways in which new skills learned can be applied back on the job.
Experiential company events are fun, engaging, and offer an opportunity to learn new skills, but there is much more value to them than that. Here are four reasons why attendees love experiential company events.
Experiential Events Turn Attendees into Participants
In traditional events, speakers stand at the front of the room and present some kind of information or ideas to attendees, who sit and listen. There may be a PowerPoint presentation for visual interest, maybe the odd video clip to illustrate a point, but no matter how skilled the presenter, the event is passive, with a one-way transfer of information from a single perspective.
Experiential events, on the other hand, actively involve everyone in the room. When smaller groups are tasked with a challenge, every attendee has the opportunity to make a contribution, which turns them into true participants in the event.
Tapping into the power of the group has multiple benefits:
- Involving everyone improves buy-in because attendees get to share their ideas and hear from their colleagues, not just from the stage
- Multiple perspectives and creative solutions make room for innovation and surprises, rather than hearing a presentation with a predetermined ending
- It is highly engaging because it’s hands-on — attendees get the chance to figure things out, contribute their expertise, and have influence over the outcome
Rather than sitting and listening, attendees get to truly participate and engage with the content, making for a more engaging and personalized event.
Experiential Events are Practical and Relevant
Experiential events may seem like they are all fun and games. Whether teams are crossing a metaphorical desert in search of gold, or building the most profitable fictional sports franchises, they get to strategize and compete in exciting ways. But the theme that provides all that fun also functions to mask the connections to workplace challenges so attendees can work outside of the boundaries of job title, department, or seniority-level. As they work through the task, adjust to changing conditions, and learn to pull together as a team, they see how their approaches as individuals and as teams directly affect the results.
Then, the debrief that follows the activity reveals connections to the day-to-day realities of the job. When participants start to connect their approaches and behaviors within the experience to how they function on a daily basis, they begin to identify their strengths and areas for growth, both as individuals and within the team dynamic.
With a skilled facilitator to guide the process, attendees learn practical skills and approaches that are relevant to the specific challenges faced by their teams at work.
Experiential Events Have Lasting Impact
When a presenter throws a bunch of information into a crowd, it’s like throwing wet noodles at the wall. Some of it might stick, but most of it falls away and is quickly forgotten. Experiential events, on the other hand, are much more memorable. People get to learn by doing, which is much more effective than simply listening, reading, or watching.
Not only that, but research shows that people love to talk about experiences, and that talking about them increases positive feelings about them. Making your company events experiential, then, has attendees thinking back fondly and helps them remember and relive the information as they talk about it together. The theme of the event also helps to create a common language that ties everything together and can be used back on the job to reinforce the key messages on an ongoing basis.
Experiential Events Encourage Interaction and Team Building
While 75 percent of people say that networking opportunities have a positive impact on their event experiences, dropping crowds of people into a giant hall with theater-style seating doesn’t make it easy to connect. Instead, people scan the crowd for familiar faces or pull out their phones.
Experiential activities mix people together and give them something to work on, so they can interact more naturally and build meaningful connections. When working together on the challenge, they can get a better sense of each other, see their strengths and learn how they think. This creates a bond that can help break down silos and create collaboration and teamwork back on the job.
Time For a Change of Pace
Attendees love experiential company events because they are fun, engaging, and memorable. With hands-on, immersive activities, attendees come away with highly relevant and practical value. They are able to build connections with both the material and with other attendees.
If you are ready to wow your attendees with an experiential company event, we can help. See what our clients say about our programs.