Leading by Example: Three Ways Engagement Starts with You
As event organizers we seek out the same things in our event outcomes, attendee satisfaction, memorable experiences, and maximum engagement! Participation is always a challenge, especially if attendees aren’t fully prepared for what is expected of them and their comfortability level with the planned activity.
Recently in the Parallel Events Summit, (oh you missed it? Check it out on demand now), we designed a format that included two parts. The first session provided the education and conversation starters for the topic and the second part consisted of an engagement workshop in which attendees were invited to turn the camera on themselves and participate in a workshop activity and idea sharing session, driven by a moderator. While the participation level wasn’t exactly as high as we would have liked to see, we were prepared as engagement looks and feels different to all user types.
When analyzing the post event statistics and lessons learned, we thought to ourselves, would we as attendees have fully participated in the engagement opportunities? Some of my team members were a firm, “yes”, some said, if the topic was interesting enough and others were a firm, “no”, my camera wouldn’t go on, but I would participate in a chat.
Consider your own participation levels
- Recognize how much you yourself participate in engagement or networking opportunities and how that may affect an attendees’ willingness to engage. If you are seen as an influencer or someone memorable who participates in many conversations, attendees may feel more encouraged or motivated to be involved.
- An additional step is to analyze how your organization and more specifically how your team engages in sessions and events. Do they speak up? Do they share their camera or microphones? Are they active in the chat? Knowing how you and your team prefer to engage will assist in creating a welcoming atmosphere for all to idea share.
Format engagement sessions with multiple ways to participate
- Give users options to engage.
- Provide incentives that encourage participation. Incentives don’t have to be of monetary value but should be related to the overall event or session topics.
Customize your marketing with engagement guidance
- Market engagement activities early and often. Provide as much detail and instruction as possible prior to the event so that users can get into their comfort zone.
- Consider opening your event environment early so that users can access the agendas and navigation guides for engagement tools to ready themselves to enhance their experience.
As the saying goes, “treat others how you want to be treated”. This can be applied to engagement as well. As event organizers, if we have certain preferences or expectations, we should lead by example and engage as much as we can in events we attend.
For more details and to view the full sessions from the Parallel Events Summit, click here.
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