Time is one of our most valuable resources, how often haven’t we felt that we need more hours of the day to get everything done? Many of us spend much of our time in various meetings, conferences and events – so we know how frustrating it can be when a meeting is poorly planned, takes too long or don’t lead anywhere.
In order for you as an event professional to succeed with what you’re planning – whether it’s a kick-off, leadership conference, business trip or something else – it’s important to organize your work properly and keep your participant’s prior knowledge, needs and interests in mind while creating your event plan. You need to deliver interesting and engaging content, host lectures and workshops and mix in just the right amount of activities and fun to make the attendees feel motivated to participate and remember what has been discussed.
Some common questions you might face when planning a conference or meeting are:
- How do I best distribute information to the participants?
- How can I help the participants keep track of the information they have received?
- How do I ensure that the participants engage in lectures and workshops?
- How do I ensure that the participants have fun during the event?
- How do I help the participants remember what was discussed at the end of the day?
- How do I find out if the participants are satisfied with the event and whether we reached our goals?
In order to make sure that all the participants take in all of the information that is presented, and engage themselves during the meetings, it is important to start involving and preparing them well in advance. If you manage to excite the participants ahead of time, they will feel that it’s more fun to participate and engage during the meeting, as well as remember what has been said and discussed to a much higher degree.
By using an event app, you can gather all your information and communication in a platform that is always close at hand in each participant’s pocket.
Create engagement by spreading excitement ahead of time
Before the meeting you can inspire with an introductory video greeting, count down to the event with the help of push notifications and post “behind the scenes” pictures from the preparations in the activity feed. The more active you are in the app, the more natural it becomes for the participants to use it to search for and take in information. The more the participants engage and use the app, the more active and well prepared they will be during the meeting – which increases the chances considerably of making your event really successful, increasing your ROI and reaching your goals.
The information should not be going out – it should be going in!
During the meeting, it is important to keep in mind that what you are there to discuss should not only be sent out to the audience – it must also be taken in by each participant. Instead of asking participants to raise their hand if they have any questions (which can discourage many from sharing their thoughts), let everyone submit their questions to the speaker anonymously through the app. To also send out polls before or during a lecture is a good way to both lighten the mood and break the one-way communication, as well as to engage the participants in the issues raised.
Don’t forget the social part!
The social part as just as important at your conferences as the meetings. Often, you can discuss work-related issues anywhere, but it’s when everyone are gathered during the conference that you have the opportunity to socialize and network (which is especially important if you have gathered colleagues from different cities or countries). Organize at least one networking exercise, such as “round table” or “mingle bingo”, and use the app to send out discussion topics and challenges as push notifications. The participants will definitely have fun and it will also be very easy to keep in touch since you have the entire participant list in your phone (where you can add the contact to your phone book, connect in social media or send instant messages with just a click of your thumb).
Follow up + measure results = maximize your ROI!
After the meeting, it is easy to go ahead and return to your everyday life without a second thought, but follow-up and feedback is important for both the company and the conference participants. It is during the first few days after the meeting that you have the opportunity to cement what you have been through, both in terms of decisions that have been made and new connections that have been created. With the help of an event app and a feedback strategy, one can with simple means both measure results, follow up what has been said and keep in touch with the participants after the meeting:
- Plan and create an evaluation in advance or send it out spontaneously, the participants can fill it out directly in the app and you can easily download the result in excel format for analysis. Share the result directly so that everyone can take part of highlights and development suggestions.
- Gather presentations, recordings and workshop material in a way that makes them easy to find and view arterwards.
- Summarize discussions and answers to the participants’ questions to the speaker so that nothing is forgotten.
- Remind everyone of fun moments by posting pictures in the image gallery and continue discussions in the app’s activity feed.
- Remind your participants of “homework”, tell everyone about new material that has been published and encourage continued networking with the help of push notifications.