Forget the fluorescent lighting and windowless rooms. Meetings have moved on. The truth is that today’s audience is expecting more when it comes to being inspired. They don’t just want to sit in a darkened room and be lectured to—they want an experience.
But keeping team members engaged and involved during meetings is not just about entertainment; it’s also about improving comprehension levels and ultimately boosting performance. Case in point: a study conducted by Purdue University found that 8th graders who were taught via a hands-on learning method vs. a textbook showed higher comprehension of the concepts.
The same idea can be applied in the business world, where there has never been a bigger place for experiential meetings. While the results of experiential meetings are undeniably positive, the possibilities are also a nice bonus. The out-of-the-box approach means that each meeting can be uniquely tailored to speak to your audience and get team members involved. Here are a few key ideas to get started:
Breaking your audience up into smaller groups can be a great way to drive face-to-face interaction, collaboration and teamwork. Plus, breaking into small groups increases the demand for individual participation and creates an opportunity for everyone to be involved and contribute.
Allowing people to use as many of their five senses as possible increases the likelihood of engagement and learning. Whether you’re asking audience members to volunteer on stage during a presentation, or challenging team members to work together on a racecar, as Andy Papathanassiou does during his innovation workshops, hands-on learning is an effective approach during experiential meetings.
Hiring a well-known subject expert as the keynote speaker, or headlining a popular celebrity, ensures attendees that they are going to have a one-of-a-kind experience that they might not be able to take advantage of in the future. It also helps to validate the learning that will take place, and shows that the event organizers took the time to choose worth-while and top notch subject matter or entertainment for the event attendees.
Take advantage of every resource available to engage audience members, especially technology. Keynote speakers who utilize apps and interactive technology add an interactive element that keeps audiences invested in meetings. For example, world-renowned speaker Tan Le uses a live “mind reading” demonstration with headset technology to get her audience thinking in new ways about innovation.
Who said meetings had to be so serious? More businesses are incorporating games into their experiential meetings to get people moving, thinking and interacting. Take culture strategist Robert Richman, who uses improv games and comedy to tackle major organizational culture issues. Incorporating games into your meetings are not only fun, but also a great way to drive home a message that your teams won’t forget.
Instead of just doing a great job on the program content and networking, be accountable for a vision that maximizes learning, networking, inspiration, multi-sensory experience, and surprises that delight attendees. Music and art can help create an immersive conference experience that grabs attention and enhances retention, while hands-on workshops allow attendees to learn by doing.
Consider using social media and online resources to not only lock in the learning, and publicize your event, but also solicit feedback from attendees. Future conferences require flexibility and adaptability. Online surveys and follow ups are a great start, but if the most honest feedback comes from bathroom comments, monitoring #hashtag comments may be a close second in garnering feedback.
The content writers at BigSpeak Speakers Bureau are Experts on the Experts. They hold doctoral, masters, and bachelors’ degrees in business, writing, literature, and education. Their business thought pieces are published regularly in leading business publications. Working in close association with the top business, entrepreneur, and motivational speakers, BigSpeak content writers are at the forefront of industry trends and research.