Last year, Microsoft conducted a study and found that digital-crazed, smartphone-toting adults lose focus after just eight seconds. Shocking, right?

While we’d like to think adults can generally focus for longer than a goldfish, experts recommend that even top presenters limit their presentations to 20 minutes—with a break or two sprinkled in. If you are expecting people to sit through long keynote speeches, chances are they are zoning out quickly and you aren’t getting your money’s worth. Not to mention, if you’ve hosted a number of events with keynotes in the past, the format itself might be a little tired and encourage attendees to “check out.”

Instead of the standard, consider a different format that will help you grab attendees’ attention and hold on tight. Consider these corporate event ideas to keep attendees focused, engaged and excited throughout the event.

Rev Up Attendees With a Team Challenge

If you really want to encourage communication, camaraderie, and collaboration, give a group an obstacle to overcome and time them. Set the challenge and define parameters (such as a time limit and imaginary budget). The competition, either with themselves or other groups of employees, will prompt everyone to work together and communicate under pressure.

What does a team challenge look like? Here’s what you can expect when you ask teams to build a bridge, but leave it up to individuals to define roles, establish leaders, and allocate resources:

 
 
 
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Activities such as this, which are fun and engaging but also have hidden lessons that individuals can take away and use every day, are an ideal choice when your event needs to deliver education in addition to fun.

Download Beyond Keynotes: 10 Fun Corporate Event Alternatives for your next  event!

Create a “Blast from the Past” Experience

If your organization is celebrating a milestone, such as 30 years in business, consider planning an event based on the year that your organization was founded. Match the music, decor and food to the time period, and invite employees to dress in the style of that time to set the tone. If possible, create a slideshow to play in the background of those early days and include images you can find such as:

  • Your original office location
  • Your Founder(s)
  • Employees through the years
  • How your website has changed over time
  • Major company events and milestones

As a bonus, incorporate historical facts and pop culture trivia from that time period and provide decade-specific costumes for event staff.

This type of event provides your staff with a real sense of your organization’s history and how far the business has come, so it can be especially powerful when you are about to embark on exciting new initiatives.

Bring Out Everyone’s Inner Child for a Day of Fun

It’s 2016 and “nostalgia” is shockingly on trend. Netflix is bringing back classic television shows and a new version of instant-printing cameras has recently come out. In the world of corporate events, nostalgia is also booming: activities that were once reserved for children’s birthday parties are increasingly becoming agenda items. To play on a nostalgic theme, consider:

  • Setting up carnival games with tickets, prizes, and cotton candy
  • Plan a themed scavenger hunt for items of a certain era
  • Hosting “field day” activities (relay races, tug of war, obstacle course)
  • Booking a caterer to provide “grown up” versions of kid foods, like fabulous macaroni and cheese or drool-worthy BLT Sandwiches (with house-made bacon and Sriracha mayonnaise, of course)

These types of nostalgic events are fun and encourage everyone to loosen up and get to know one another.

It’s much easier to grab –and hold– attendees’ attention when you can hype up an exciting event, especially one with out-of-the-ordinary activities. Bypass the keynote, and use these corporate event ideas to make your event truly something to remember.  

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