5 ways to make your events more collaborative
How to work together with your attendees to co-create more engaging events
This article is produced in partnership with Cvent.
Planners have to work harder than ever to attract delegates to attend their live events. Events are no longer simply about providing information; attendees are demanding more bang for their buck – whether that’s great contacts, leads, new ideas or even being able to affect the direction a company takes.
Increasing engagement with attendees is the top business goal for in-person events for 71% of planners, according to a new survey. So, event planners need to think about new ways to not just communicate but collaborate with attendees, in order to spark truly innovative events.
Here are five ways collaboration can help ensure your next event is a hit:
1. Engage with your audience through tech
Mobile event apps allow organisers to connect and engage with attendees before, during and after an event, letting them schedule appointments and interact through live chat, Q&As, surveys and polling. That’s certainly what Advanced, a UK business software company, found. It holds 120 events a year, but its biggest is Advanced World, which attracts more than 1,500 professionals from the healthcare, finance and legal sectors. Advanced had previously found engaging with its attendees a challenge, so adopted the Cvent event app.
Events Executive Charlotte Dawes said: “The event app gave that extra element of interaction with the delegates. They were able to access the agenda, which saved us time as we were not being asked questions, and it enables us to promote speaker sessions and information through the push notifications”.
2. Harness the power of the crowd
Ahead of an event, engage your attendees on social media and encourage participation by enlisting influencers, speakers and previous attendees to share information and testimonials. Nail down your hashtags, logos and images and run competitions with prizes attached to get people sharing. Depending on the number and demographic of your attendees, you might want to create a Facebook, LinkedIn or even WhatsApp group for people to introduce themselves and share insights.
3. Make all your sessions interactive
At the event, make sure your speakers stick to their time limits (preferably short and sweet) and include plenty of room for attendee questions. Vary the format of your sessions – from roundtables and breakouts to quizzes and talent shows (where attendees pitch ideas or products and their peers vote on them). Not only will your attendees feel listened to, but the client will also gain valuable insights into their views and priorities.
4. Build relationships
Attendees need opportunities to interact with each other at the event, including one-to-one networking. Event organisers can also tweak networking sessions to become more of a collaboration with the client, for instance with Solution Rooms, where attendees share a business problem and small groups of attendees, speakers and clients brainstorm solutions (keep it focused by setting a timer for five to 10 minutes).
5. Embrace co-creation
Co-creation has been big in product design for years – for instance, LEGO has its own crowdsourcing product-development platform, LEGO Ideas, and BMW holds regular open innovation contests. The idea has now broadened out into events, such as IKEA Bootcamp Demo Day, where start-ups from around the world present sustainable products.
Meanwhile, DHL holds Innovation Centers, where customers and employees brainstorm new ideas together – this co-creation initiative has helped customer satisfaction scores to rise to over 80%, as well as helping DHL deliver its parcels quicker. Good co-creation should jointly create value for both the organisation and its customers; companies need to think about how to best incentivise customers to share ideas, so that it’s not an exploitative exercise.
Remember, collaboration doesn’t end when your attendees leave an event – now it’s time to share feedback, keep the networking going and put the insights you’ve collected into action.