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3 Ways to Drive Event Engagement That Don't Fail - Unlike Orange is the New Black

Blair Pettrey

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The latest season of ‘Orange is the New Black’ was released by Netflix on Friday, June 17th, 2016.

The 4th season of this Emmy (and multiple other awards) winning show, exclusive to Netflix, which in times past was focused more on the character stories of inmates within the fictional Litchfield, New York minimum security prison, took a shift this season by applying more of a focus on the character stories of those who served in the prison (i.e. correctional officers, warden, etc.).

In case you’re not an “OITNB” fan – we’ll fast forward to the point, since we’re an engagement driven company – not a television review and recap blog.

When new correctional officers, otherwise known as C.O.’s, arrive at the Litchfield, New York prison as new hires to be trained – they are encouraged by the prison warden to partake in an icebreaker event. The icebreaker facilitation, was to try and encourage new C.O.’s to transform from ‘themselves’ into a team. The prison warden wanted the new C.O.’s to warm up, and get to know each other by sharing personal information in a fun and welcoming manner.

What icebreaker did they choose to do? The infamous ‘2 Truths & 1 Lie’. Yet after a mere matter of moments, the newly hired correctional officers were ‘over it’ and refusing to engage and participate.

Ever been to an event that seemed just as dull? That despite the best efforts of the event planners and event professionals who organized the event, conference or meeting – the networking attempts just seemed dull – artificial – forced. There was no excitement to the efforts, and there was no true purpose (at least not that seemed to be understood).

As explains, “Ice breakers can be an effective way of starting a training session or team-building event. As interactive and often fun sessions run before the main proceedings, they help people get to know each other and buy into the purpose of the event.”

As a company focused on helping build and drive live engagement, we know firsthand the value, importance and power of icebreaker’s at events.

In fact, some of our most successful mobile event app adoption rates transpired because of an the focus on an icebreaker to start an event, such as when we created a custom “2 Truths & 1 Lie” icebreaker as part of an event app we built for a client.

Whether you’re trying to increase employee engagement, event engagement or new student orientation engagement – the power of engagement is very real. Here’ are X tips to help you drive engagement at your event:

1. Make it Personal (Registration)

Event personal registration

When an attendee registers for your event, odds are they are going to put their formal name down on the “First and Last name” line. But what if ‘Robert Smith’ goes by ‘Bob’ and ‘Margaret Jones’ goes by ‘Meg’. Odds are, Bob and Meg don’t want their name badges to say Robert or Margaret, and then be referred to as such the entirety of the event. By allowing personalization from the beginning – even prior to your event, you are allowing your event attendees to feel familiar and more a part of a community rather than just another name in a formal system. This continues throughout your event, and even after – personalization is a huge factor in one’s level of engagement the value one feels they take away from an event. By starting from the beginning, you’ve created a community foundation, that can be built upon as your event occurs, and after.

2. Make it Social (Social Media)

Social Media building event engagement

There are multiple ways to build engagement for your event through social media. From the beginning you should create and utilize a specific hashtag for your event, and share it across your messages when posting on social media channels. By utilizing an event hashtag you are setting the tone for your event attendees to use your events hashtag as well. 

At the event, you can showcase social media updates and status’ using your event hashtag on a live social media wall. This continues to encourage and motivate your event attendees to engage with your event, and with your events hashtag.

After your event has concluded, you can monopolize on your events continued engagement by sharing information, updates, coverage news and videos and more from your event. Not only will this allow you to keep up your events engagement, it helps encourage excitement for your next event.

3. Make it Worthwhile (Gamification)

Events Gamification and QR Codes

There are multiple ways to ‘make it worthwhile.’ Gamification is a great way to start. What is gamification? In short, gamification is a way to encourage engagement and interaction through rewards. Rewards can vary – whether it be points, swag, or other fun opportunities. Whether you’re trying to increase engagement from your health app, your school classroom, or your event – gamification has been shown to increase engagement in multitudes across experiences.

In Conclusion

From health businesses, colleges, employers, and events alike – engagement amongst your attendees, students, employees and attendees is vital. Whether beginning an event with an engagement experience, or encouraging collaboration among a new (or old) team or group – engagement is possible with the MeetingPlay mobile app.

MeetingPlay’s focus is on creating and leveraging engagement.

 Learn more about how our solutions can help your next event drive engagement, here.