Event organizers know what engagement is and that it’s important, but sometimes aren’t sure what to do to make their events more engaging. They often focus on involving the audience more in the presentation but lose sight of the fact that, at its best, engagement is a two-way process.
Content engagement is about effective communication with audiences, including allowing them to communicate with presenters and organizers. Their feedback can be invaluable in planning subsequent events, ensuring knowledge transfer, or even proving compliance in regulated industries such as life sciences.
Audience engagement is the result of intentional planning and encouragement by event organizers and requires preparation and the right tools. Here is a six-step process that you can build on as you design content with engagement in mind:
1. Define event goals and success metrics. Start with the end in mind and clearly define what you want the audience to learn from you—and what you want to learn from them.
2. Create interactive opportunities. Boost participation and information retention with surveys, polls, and gamification—but make sure that what you’re asking aligns with your event goals.
3. Establish collective baseline knowledge. Evaluate your audience's opinions or current understanding of a subject with a pre-event survey.
4. Plan for flexibility. Allow your audience to help guide the event by asking them what topics they are most interested in or by focusing on knowledge gaps you identify in polling.
5. Emphasize engagement. Remind your audience to ask questions or take notes on important parts of the presentation.
6. Measure knowledge transfer. Assess your audience's new level of understanding with a post-session survey, comparing the responses to the pre-session survey to measure the impact of your event.
A well-executed engagement strategy helps your event stand out. A smooth, interactive content experience provides attendees with useful material and interactions. In turn, improved attendee satisfaction encourages more relationship-building and referrals.
Jeannie Griffin is vice president of product management at Array, which provides content engagement technology and services.