Event Science

From Color to Cuisine

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The Science of Keeping Attendees Engaged

Meeting & Event Industry pros have witnessed all too often the collective groans of those forced to attend a conference that is far from stimulating. Here are a few tips to keep things fresh and focused to ensure attendees are 100% engaged.

Facebook Pages. Create a Facebook page before the conference and post engaging information. Be sure to let your list know about the page by using the “invite friends” option and by linking to your page in emails. Hint- send attendees friend requests from your Facebook profile. Then, when posting on your Facebook Page, post as yourself (Edit Page> Your Settings> uncheck box next to Posting Preferences) and “tag” event attendees in posts. During the event use your smartphone to take pictures of events and speakers and post them on Facebook - remember to get permission to go social with the pictures prior to posting.

Twitter- Use Twitterbefore and during the event to keep attendees abreast of late-breaking developments and to post helpful industry information and articles. Hint- Ask attendees for their Twitter names during registration. Be sure to “tag” different attendees in your Twitter messages, encouraging them to respond to your tweets. Push a Twitter Feed out to the Registration Desk so that people can view Conference trends in real time.

You Are What You Eat.If you eat small amounts of food often, it will keep your brain stimulated. Great brain foods include: fish, walnuts, eggs, berries, spinach, and salads. Coffee, tea, water, cocoa bean infused drinks and red wine are great thirst quenchers that will keep attendees alert.

Fun & Games.Incorporating some fun elements into meetings have been shown to improve critical thinking, foster creativity, increase energy levels and reduce stress. Use ice-breaking games to lighten the mood and get people socializing and interacting.

Relax the Mind.Allow attendees to reflect and focus by enforcing meditation time with cell phones and other distractions turnedoff. Playing classical music has also shown to improve mental acuity.

What's Good for the Body is Good for the Brain.No one can meet nonstop for days on end. Give attendees a chance to escape. Offer opportunities to exercise - yoga, pilates, jogging, etc. - to increase the flow of oxygen to the brain and distract attendees for a bit so they come back more focused than ever.

Arouse the Senses.When designing meetings, uplighting in specific colors is a great way to make an impact. For example, the color blue has a calming affect which fosters creativity while red increases attention to detail. More importantly, create a sensory experience that will connect with attendees long after the event is over. Send out a meeting soundtrack beforehand that attendees will recognize during an event.

2013 Nathan West & Jason Cataldi