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Nov 20, 2017

Engaging Your Attendees

Giving control to the HIVE instead of the Queen Bee

Ask someone to describe a convention or meeting and you might hear words like "keynote speaker, PowerPoint presentations, listening, or (gulp!) boring."

As I sit here and think about how my life as a consumer has changed, I think about how I order my groceries online from the comfort of my living room, how I avoid the crowded malls and have my gifts delivered to my doorstep and heck, even how my dental office offers me a warm neck wrap and paraffin hand wax while my teeth are getting cleaned.

More and more, the experiences in my life are tailored to how I choose them to be. I am more engaged and happier because of it. 

I recently attended an Associations North seminar where the incredibly animated speaker named Roger Haskett of Engagement Unlimited talked about "Giving control to the hive, instead of the power only relying in the hands of the Queen Bee." Come again? I thought we were here to talk about engaging your event attendees, not the behaviors of those pesky stinging insects.

Meetings and events are shifting from a passive engagement experience to more active engagement. PLAY is actually a key component in creating full engagement. So how do we do that in a meeting? How do we bring in experts to speak and inspire, while still giving the power to the hive? Below are some ideas to inspire you for your next event.

CATCH BOX: Ditch the person that frantically walks around the room with the microphone from person to person so the "whole group can hear." Instead, use a tossable (and catchable) wireless microphone in a box. Saint Paul RiverCentre has them in house for use in meetings. Your attendees are guaranteed to have more fun, be more engaged and step out of their comfort zone.

Click on the image below to see how the Catch Box works.


MUSIC: Music is powerful and Haskett demonstrated this fact by incorporating "blind karaoke" into his presentation. It was the perfect post-lunch activity to re-engage our group into the conference. He divided the room in half and played popular songs. The first side of the room to guess the name of the song got a point. Pretty soon, the entire room was singing along, smiling and laughing. Boredom had left the room. (Side note: This works in the car too. My children are no longer arguing, but instead begging me to play "blind karaoke" with them.)


STEP OUT OF YOUR COMFORT ZONE: Roger tells us that the learning happens when we leave our comfort zones. He acknowledged that not everyone is comfortable with that sort of thing, particularly introverts. He even went so far as to offer step by step tips on how to properly network and get out of your safe zone and put us to work practicing. The result? A very loud and engaged ballroom where ideas were exchanged and energy filled the room. Get your attendees out of their chairs, on their feet and part of the conversation.

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