Planning season is in full force here at MPHI. Whether it’s a 30 person training or a 700 person conference, keeping your participants engaged and your event fun is key! Here are 5 ways to keep events fresh and fun:
1. Mobile Apps and Mobile Friendly Websites:Mobile apps and mobile friendly websites are certainly not new, but they are more user (and developer) friendly than ever before. These can be accessible on smart phones, tablets, and computers. These platforms allow for participants to access session materials, use interactive floor plans for exhibit areas, connect socially with other attendees, and maintain their personal agenda. The functionality is endless!
2. Morning Exercise:Attending a two-day conference is hard work! Offering morning exercise is a great way for attendees to relax, try something new, and return refreshed to your conference. Whether it is yoga, Zumba, a hike, a river walk, or tai chi - schedule something for everyone. Contact your local Convention and Visitors Bureau to connect with the local parks and recreation office, small business, or YMCA who can provide you with instructors for free or in exchange for breakfast.
3. Interactive Sessions:Polling is easier than ever with programs like Poll Everywhere and Poll Maker that allow participants to use their own phones to text. There is no longer a need to invest in expensive polling gear for your conference and trainings. Polls can easily be integrated into presentations. Use it at the beginning to gauge where your participants stand on a topic, throughout to keep them engaged, or at the end to see what they have learned. It’s fun and who doesn’t like a friendly competition?
4. Engage with Each Other:Whether planning a large or small event, ensuring that participants connect with each other is huge! While networking lunches are important, connecting on a deeper level with facilitated ice breakers allows for attendees to engage emotionally. While someone can always be hired to assist with this, there are also budget friendly ways to accomplish this goal as well. Set the general session room in full or crescent rounds to encourage group discussion. Pre-set the table with ice breaker topics such as: What was your first concert? Do you have a guilty pleasure television show? What was favorite childhood toy? A lot can be learned from a simple ice breaker game.
5. Concentration Bins:Let’s face it eight-hour training days can be draining. Throughout the day participants get antsy and lose their focus. Concentration bins allow participants to stay engaged while keeping their hands and minds active. These bins should have a variety of items. Adult coloring books are always a crowd pleaser. Include a variety of markers, colored pencils, and colored pens. A simple add is a pipe cleaner, it can be twisted or made into a design. For a trip down memory lane include play dough, a Rubix cube or a slinky. Items that are quiet but allow people to get a little creative and keep their hands busy while they are learning are key!
No matter what fun activities you add to your event, remember that the ultimate goal is that your participants stay engaged. Happy planning!