We might not be experts when it comes to the human brain and the mystical ways in which it can manage to switch off when you need it most, but after thousands of conferences and meetings coming through our doors, it’s safe to say that we’ve picked up a few hot tips.
Below are our top 5 tactics to help you keep your delegates and colleagues engaged:
1. Establish a positive and lively mood – quickly!
It doesn’t get more un-motivating than walking into a silent room with almost everyone fixated on their phone or laptop. Be sure to have background music playing, AV ready to go and even get guests to leave phones at the door. Ensuring delegates engage and interact with each other straight away is paramount to setting the tone of the room, perhaps start with an interactive team building exercise to lighten the mood and introduce the delegates.
If there’s one thing we have noticed it’s that genuine service with a smile goes a very long way in ensuring delegates feel comfortable and relaxed, so prioritise finding a venue that aims to delivers upon service.
2. Schedule breaks frequently and strategically
With the average attention span of an adult consisting of only 20 minutes, it’s no wonder delegates can quickly become disinterested. This is why it is integral to schedule both eating breaks as well as “brain-breaks”. A simple 5 minutes spent outside in the fresh air, surrounded by Mother Nature can work wonders for improving vivacity amongst delegates.
Strategic breaks play a large role in maintaining attention. No one likes wrapping up a 2-hour brainstorm with another 2-hour brainstorm! Make sure to implement “brain-breaks” sporadically throughout the day to help stimulate fresh ideas and promote participation.
3. Create an engaging and welcoming work environment
One of the most fundamental, yet commonly overlooked techniques to promoting engagement amongst delegates is to ensure the room setup allows for easy interaction with those around them. There really is nothing more underwhelming than not being able to view the person speaking or having to stare at a person’s back all day.
As this can sometimes be difficult when dealing with larger conferences, it is always important to ensure there are a variety of informal learning spaces such as couches, long tables for delegates to stand either side of, or even bean bags. This will help to promote open discussion during breaks or when moving off into groups.
4. Ensure to cater for success
We probably don’t need to tell you that the second most highly anticipated time of the work day is lunch time. We also probably don’t need to tell you that there’s nothing worse than making it to this glorious part of the day only to become disappointed at the selection and substance of food.
Not only does great food help to bring people together, the brain power that comes from delicious and nutritious food helps to transform your delegates into productive powerhouses. So, make sure quality catering that includes plenty of fresh produce that will help keep your delegates from flat lining in the afternoon, is a priority.
5. Deliver a meaningful experience not just another meeting
Perhaps most important of all is remembering the simple fact that people crave genuine experiences. People want more than just to sit in a chair and listen to someone speak. Delegates are after something that’s memorable, informative, educational and fun.
It’s about more than just integrating an hour of work outside, it’s a combination of enlightening experiences that will help to keep your colleagues and delegates engaged and full of fresh ideas. Unique experiences help the team to connect, learn, energise and have fun while ensuring productive and effective work is achieved.
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