We now live a technologically advanced world, with the rapid acceleration of AI and other tools to help people and productivity, however the plight of audience engagement doesn’t seem to be catching up quite as quickly.

Conferences, meetings and events most of the time have important outcomes and messages that need delivering, but how these navigate their way to the audience is, in the majority, via screen-based content being delivered by leaders of the business, facilitators or other relatable business figures. The scary part of all this is according to studies the average attention span in a meeting / lecture is anywhere between 10-20 minutes and its even possible to lose attention as early as 7 minutes if the content you’re providing doesn’t resonate with your audience.

So what can we do to keep audiences engaged when lost in a sea of content? Keeping in mind one of most important deliverable for any event is knowledge retention as we all want our audiences to leave understanding what the key messages were and take these away with them. There are so many engagement tools available for all event types, but an easy win is to the agenda work for your audience rather than the content, venue and speakers. Think about breaks, and how you can break up the day and if you do have a lot of screen heavy content can you put it between other content e.g polls, panel discussions, speakers or even a team build?



The world of audience engagement has evolved over the years, when I started out in the world of event voting handsets and team building were the “go-to” options – but now voting can be done via several platforms through guests own mobile/tablet devices and even include word clouds, Q&A, polls and quizzes! 



Now there are hundreds more possibilities, which include a few of the most popular and at varying price points;

  • Event apps, 
  • Gamification,
  • Interactive Q&A using catch-box mics or even mobile devices, 
  • Ice breakers, 
  • Photo competitions
  • Live shows,
  • Virtual reality 
  • Augmented reality 

Some options we have delivered for our clients involve audience participation networking breakouts where guests navigate around the room to find out facts about each other to gain more of an understanding about how their colleagues are, which is even more important post Covid where teams are more detached than ever before. Also engaging speakers running workshops either about mental Health, wellbeing speakers with Libby Webb or live physical workshops to include breakout Yoga or some Samba drumming to liven up teams at the beginning of the day or to revitalise after lunch.



One of my favourite speakers from 2023 was the fantastic Jamil Qureshi who’s humorous keynote on performance psychology and change was fantastic but equally the phenomenal Ice Maidens talk on how they conquered the arctic was breathtaking and incredible story.



Team building has also proven popular to get people out of the meeting mindset and push boundaries and ideas from Dragon's den style activities incorporating business messages to pure fun crystal maze type challenges which help audiences refresh and re-energise before heading back into their main plenary.



In my experience the most essential requirement of audience participation is choosing the right option for your team and content, its not something to be done for the sake of doing something, as then you miss the opportunity to tailor a solution that will help deliver your messages, engage your audience and help increase your event ROI.

If you would like to talk more about how we can help you with you audience engagement then drop us a line…