When planning an event, it can be challenging to generate ideas for event activities that engage the entire group and help you achieve your internal goals for the gathering. Everybody learns differently and responds to different types of stimuli. Just as it’s smart to incorporate a combination of images, text, and videos to capture and keep attention in a presentation, using an all-encompassing theme will consistently engages attendees at every turn during your corporate event.
A cohesive theme that pervades throughout your corporate event delivers multiple benefits:
- The information transmitted at the event is retained better
- Attendees will be more enthusiastic about the content being delivered
- Participants will be more entertained and engaged
Use the Five Senses in Corporate Event Planning
Humans are sensory creatures. We use the sights, smells, and sounds all around us to gather information and form new memories. Think about what it was like to walk into your grandmother’s house when you were a child -- the smell of baking cookies, the creak of the wood floors, and the feel of the soft blanket on the couch. All of those sensory experiences can bring you right back to that moment in time.
If you want your conference or company event to have a theme that resonates, incorporate all five of the senses into your corporate event planning. Let’s use a jungle safari theme as an example. How might you create an immersive experience for attendees?
See the Forest and the Trees
Visual props can transform a meeting room from a dull beige box to a verdant jungle. Remember that for a theme to be all-encompassing it should not be limited to just the meeting space. The check-in area, hotel rooms, and breakout areas should also incorporate visual elements of your theme.
Smell the Flowers
When attendees walk into a room draped with greenery and the smell of tropical flowers or a spring rain, they are immediately transported to a different place, and a different mindset. They know that they are in for more than just a boring string of presentations, and they want to know what other surprises are in store for them. You can use various smells to evoke different reactions. If one of your activities involves working as a team to escape a jungle fire, you can change the smell in the room to induce a sense of urgency.
Hear the Birds Sing
Add a soundtrack of tropical bird calls and rustling trees to complete the sensory experience when attendees walk into the room. You can also use theme-based sounds in other ways. Perhaps you beat a drum when you want attendees to gather, or use a rain stick to signal the end of a breakout session.
Touch the Tigers
Incorporate props that participants must handle as part of the experiential learning activities. You can use costumes, hats, badges, stuffed jungle animals, flowers, and any other items that fit with your theme. You can also use physical activities to engage the sense of touch. If your event includes team-building activities, maybe you have a jungle ropes course or create an activity that requires participants to work together to get across a snake-infested river.
Taste the Bananas
Food is an essential element of all corporate event planning, and with an all-encompassing theme, you have the opportunity to make it interesting. Offer coconut water as one of your beverage options and have bowls of tropical fruit available for snacks.
Transforming a meeting space for an all-encompassing theme will make your corporate event more memorable than a standard hotel meeting room, but don’t just limit it to one room. Your theme should flow through the entire event, from the moment participants receive their first communication about it until the final follow-up e-mail is sent. Don’t forget to use a corporate event planning checklist to make sure you cover all your bases.