Ooh, An Immersive Affair? Isn’t that one of the Twilight books? Ahh, those arms…Hang on, we’re not talking about romance novels here?
Nope, we’re actually talking about something much less steamy — though hopefully equally exciting (in a different sort of way). We’re talking about event planning here. And even if you’re not sure what an immersive event is, we can almost guarantee it’s something that you’ll want.
Tips on how to organise immersive events
All it means is that your event attendees will be so caught up in the world of your event that they focus all their attention on it. With the ever-present temptation of smartphones to draw people’s attention away these days, success is measured on how well a success managed to get their attendees to focus on the here-and-now — and not on all those pinging notifications.
Like a lot of things when it comes to event planning, you can swipe a few tips from the pros to take your own event to the next level. We’ve collected five of our very favourite tips, plus added a bonus one of our own.
Now, let’s get started on making your event even more awesome!
#1 Use decor
One of the easiest ways you can help your attendees feel as if they’ve fully stepped into the world of your event is to give them lots of visual clues — a.k.a. decor! You can do all sorts of things with your decor, from emphasising your theme (we’ll talk about that in a bit more detail later on) to telling a story to making your guests understand the feeling that you’re going for.
Your decor can be as simple as you like or the complete opposite. Your budget will probably come into play, but you’ll also want to keep in mind the style and message you want to send to your guests. We’ve seen events where the organisers recreated something like the Moulin Rouge for the attendees. While it does look spectacular, the saucy connotations probably aren’t appropriate for certain types of occasions. For others, though, it might be just the ticket to making guests feel like they’ve been whisked away for a sexy Parisian getaway.
Need some inspiration for your decorations? Pinterest is always a good place to start!
#2 Impromptu talks or workshops are better than presentations
The very worst events are almost always the ones that are full of tedious speeches with awkward speakers. There’s really no reason that you have to schedule hours and hours of stuffy formal presentations like this. Really! Just because you have an expert speaking on a topic they know a lot about doesn’t mean it’s going to be a hit with your event attendees. Sometimes, a huge expert might end up being the most tedious speaker of the day.
Instead, impromptu talks and workshops are a better bet for keeping your guests on their feet. If they have the chance to participate, they’ll probably feel more involved and be more motivated to keep paying attention. Also, workshops are also a great chance for guests to get hands-on experience that they can take home from your event. That’s on top of being a handy tool to keep their attention focused where you want it to be — on your event! Win for you, win for them.
#3 Use a theme to unify the conference
Choosing a theme may sound like a daunting task, but there’s usually one very simple place to start. Who do you want to come to the event and what do you want them to take away from it?
If you can figure out who your audience is, it’ll really help you narrow down your list of themes and pick ones that will work for them, rather than themes that sound cool in general. A theme is also a really good jumping-off point for choosing things like your decor and your selection of speeches and workshops.
#4 Have one room for talks and another for networking
Nobody likes sitting through an entire event of talks, and there are probably few people who can stand that much networking, either. Keep guests’ attention engaged by letting them mix it up. When they get tired of one, they can switch to another. Or, you can just have them switch between the two spaces on a schedule so that they don’t get bored of being in the same spot all day long.
You’ll also manage to have two sorts of events in the same space. This saves you costs — instead of renting two spaces, you’ll just have the one — and it’ll give your guests more to explore and give them more out of your event.
#5 Pay attention to every detail
The difference between a pleasant but forgettable event and one that really stand outs sometimes does come down to the small details. Making sure the event runs seamlessly is key to getting your guests to stay actively interested in things for the duration. Don’t let small distractions or annoyances steal the spotlight from your carefully planned event!
Details can be as small as making sure guests know how to get to and from the venue to having enough name badges on hand to making sure the lighting is good for the type of event you want to have.
This article rounds up some of those pesky little details that event organisers often forget about. Did you manage to remember all of these?
#6 BONUS TIP: Tell a story with your event
One of the hottest words right now in marketing is “storytelling”. While it does get bandied about a lot by people who are all style and no substance, there is real value to being able to tell a story with your event. Pixar filmmaker Andrew Stanton explained it very simply:
“The greatest story commandment? Make me care.”
If you can make your guests care and feel involved in the story that you’re telling with your event, then you can consider your event a success. What sort of story do you want to tell them? Who are you telling it to? See if you can rework elements of your event to get people to feel a certain way about your brand. You can also go back to your theme and your decor to help reinforce the story.
One tip: Avoid the temptation to make your story overly complicated. Go for something simple that your attendees will be able to relate to. Here are some easy tips to get you started on telling the story that will hook your attendees’s attention right from the start.
Of course, there are plenty more ways you can help your guests feel really immersed in the event. Check out our “50 Commandments of a modern Conference” infographic for more tips on how to organise incredible occasions.
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