How to improve audience engagement for your next event or conference

Ben Waugh

How to improve audience engagement for your next event or conference

Increasing audience engagement allows you to create a better experience for attendees, speakers and hosts alike. A successful event equals happy stakeholders and increases the potential for repeat business if you’re an events management or production company. Offering your audience a means with which to connect with the host or speakers empowers them, giving them a platform to feedback their thoughts and opinions, meaning the audience feels more engaged and compelled to participate further – a positive cycle which creates that buzz. This in turn helps the speaker to gauge audience sentiment and direct the session accordingly, moving in different directions if needed to keep momentum.

If you’re looking for ways to improve audience engagement and want to avoid some common pitfalls then read on for 4 helpful tips.

1. Preparation

Make sure you have thought about all the different components of your event that could impact audience engagement. For instance, the venue or room layout can set the tone and environment for the rest of the event. This can impact the connection between the speaker and audience, as well as peer-to-peer networking.

2. Choosing the right technology 

Finding the right technology to drive audience engagement can be difficult with so many options out there. To narrow down your options you need to focus on the purpose of the technology  - for instance, if you need instant feedback from your audience to understand their opinions, then a live polling app would be a good choice for this use case. Try not to be drawn in by any gimmicky features when comparing technology.

Choose a tool that can increase engagement and also measure it. This is where an audience response system, like Meetoo, can effectively gather this data and display how many people voted on your polls, how they contribute to Q&A sessions and show how active your participants were in your event. Measuring this data allows you to constantly gauge what your audience is thinking, what went well or didn't go so well, so you can continue to improve your events and meetings. 

You can read more about how to choose the right event technology here.

3. Event agenda and speakers

It is important that your event agenda is slick, focused and designed with your event goals in mind. Your event should include great relevant content to share as well as featuring inspiring, engaging speakers who can deliver this content. Before your event it is worth spending some time briefing your speakers to ensure they are prepared for facilitating audience participation during their session. As the speakers will be driving the session it is important to make sure that they well-prepared, confident and are onboard with the event plan and any audience engagement technology you have chosen to use.

4. Audience participation

Event attendees who can participate and feel connected are understandably more engaged. With so much event technology in the marketplace there are numerous ways to involve an audience and to make your event memorable for all the right reasons. Content sharing, group discussion, live polling, Q&A, interactive stories and gamification are all methods of delivery that can increase audience participation and provide a more engaging event experience. 

Conclusion

To really nail audience engagement, you need to think about why your attendees are attending, what questions might they have and what you as organisers want to know from your attendees. Use technology such as Meetoo to help bring your speakers and audience together to share ideas and discuss talking points. Each event will have different considerations and might require a different approach – audience engagement is definitely not a one size fits all approach so allow plenty of time for preparation and planning to take all aspects into consideration.   

If you're looking for an audience engagement tool and live polling app for your next meeting or event then why not try Meetoo for free?