Embracing the Conference Experience: Engagement and Emotion
Is conference experience something you should pay attention to? Many organisers measure the success of a conference based on finite and quantitative concepts such as the number of tickets sold, the products marketed and how many attendees filled a venue. While these observations can provide some insight into the overall outcome, they are unable to touch upon a concept known as the conference experience. In other words, what have participants been able to take away from the conference in question? To be able to learn to adapt to the needs of an audience, this topic is critical. Let us take a closer look at how an event experience can be leveraged to produce visible results.
The Idea of “Return on Involvement”
Although an educational and informative conference is obviously beneficial, it is just as important to extend this metric to the experience of the average attendee. In this case, the acronym ROI stands for “return on involvement” as opposed to “return on investment”. Viewers who are entertained and engaged are more likely to become active participants in the future and to refer others to upcoming conferences. Not only is this sound marketing, but it places the needs of the delegates on centre stage.
The Ambience of the Venue
This concept has been embraced by restaurants for decades. Colours such as maroon, red and green create a comfortable environment which is said to increase one’s appetite. In the same respect, it is critical to enhancing the conference experience through the use of relevant presentations and technical aides. Size is less important as what is contained within its confines. Creating a consistent atmosphere will help to draw the attention of the attendee to what is being presented; a key step in effective interpersonal engagement.
The Power of Storytelling
One of the reasons why novels and films are appealing arises from the fact that they contain a beginning, a middle and an end. Any conference presentation which merely presents static facts will ultimately detract from the experience of the recipient. This is the reason why many social psychologists have embraced the concept of storytelling. Participants will remain interested, and relevant stories can even enable them to feel as if they are a part of the outcome. However, we should keep in mind that overtly fictional or outlandish tales may only serve to alienate an audience. This is the reason why a careful balance needs to be struck between entertainment and authenticity.
Although this should already be quite obvious, there are still some organisers who fail to interact with their audience. A presentation should never be thought of as a university lecture, but rather as an opportunity to glean valuable information from the delegates while enabling them to be part of the entire process. This type of proactive engagement can help to build a personal rapport with other members and naturally, they will provide additional amounts of positive feedback to potential future attendees.
Employing a Partner
There are many times when you may need to delegate a certain amount of responsibility to another primary conference stakeholder. However, it is just as important to choose the proper individual. Some of the questions that should be asked include:
- How well do they understand your goals?
- Are they able to provide recommendations for future improvements and if so, how is this data measured?
- Are they concerned about the total event experience or merely the dissemination of information?
A partner can represent a powerful tool if he or she embraces the correct attitude.
After the Conference Experience Itself
It is not enough for delegates to only attend an event. Organisers should follow up with them to appreciate their input as well as to learn if any areas can be improved. Such feedback is invaluable and showing attendees that their opinions matter is an excellent way to maintain brand loyalty.
These are some ways to leverage the power of the conference experience. By providing an interactive and rewarding atmosphere, success in the future will become much more of reality. Please feel free to contact our professional staff for further knowledge.
Congrex Switzerland is an internationally operating agency delivering customised solutions. This encompasses the overall organisation of conferences and meetings including the management of hotel rooms and the strategic consultancy. Annually Congrex Switzerland organises approximately 33 events with over 73’000 delegates. Amongst our clients are international associations, governmental organisations and corporations.
If you wish to receive additional information about Congrex Switzerland, please feel free to contact us.
Tags: Attendee, Emotion, Event experience, Return on involvement, Storytelling
Technology/Trends: Association Conference, Association Member Engagement, Conference Attendance, Conference Design, Conference Engagement, Conference Experience, Conference Learning Experience, Conference Planning, Conference Social Media, Conference Venue, Delegate Experience, Green Meetings, Professional Conference Organiser
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