September 16, 2016 by Jeff Hurt
Are 50%-80% of your conference attendees in your programming at any given time?
Or are they filling the hallways, hotel spa and lounge, local restaurants, coffee shops and bars conversing with others? Or are they visiting the local tourist attractions?
One thing is certain, if your conference attendees are not fully engaged in the experience you provide, there is little, if any, chance that they will leave your event with any real ROI. Attendee engagement happens as a result of a conference organizer’s intentional planning, implementation and execution of specific strategies. Ultimately, authentic attendee engagement includes emotional engagement, cognitive engagement and behavioral engagement.
Want to learn more? Join me for our free Webinar the Highly Energized And Engaged Conference Experience, September 20, 2 pm Eastern. Register Now!
There are four factors that affect attendee engagement says education researchers and authors Robert J. Marzano and Debra J. Pickering. To have highly engaged conference participants you must address them. And if you want attendees to return and state that they gained value from attending your event, you must plan for them!
The level of activity in your conference programming directly affects your attendees’ energy and engagement. If they are sitting passively listening, their energy and engagement decreases. Meeting professionals must get involved in the program and learning design to increase attendee engagement. It’s more important than just scheduling speakers.
Even if attendees are engaged emotionally and actively, if they don’t perceive the content as interesting, they won’t engage. There are three types of individual interest the conference programming must capture to engage participants: triggered situational interest, maintained situational interest and individual interest.(Schiefele, U., 2009; Hidi & Baird, 1996; and Mitchell, 1993)
Triggered situation interest is capturing the attendee’s attention.
Maintained situational interest is holding that attendee’s interest over an extended period of time.
Individual interest represents the attendee’s outlook toward the topic as needed now and in the future.
Is this important? Will I need to know, understand use this information for success?
These are the questions your conference programming must answer. And if attendees answer yes to these questions, then their engagement will skyrocket. When you can challenge your conference attendees to focus on their highest life and professional goals, those required to be successful, compete and lead, then they will register, attend and be more engaged.
Conference attendees that feel that can learn the new information, understand it and perform it successfully are more engaged. Conference organizers must help their attendees develop clear images of who they can become in the future. When attendees can mentally see themselves adopting the skills and applying new information, their engagement increases.
Too often our conference programming fosters helpless patterns of attendee responses (Dweck & Master, 2009). Instead we must create conference experiences that foster a mastery-oriented pattern, where attendees embrace and express that they can see how the programming will help them be successful and more effective.
Join our free Webinar the Highly Energized And Engaged Conference Experience, September 20, 2 pm Eastern. Register Now!
What questions do you have about creating conference attendee engagement that you would like addressed in this webinar? What has to happen for conference organizers to focus on these four factors to create highly engaged conference participants?
Filed Under: Event Planning
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