5 Creative Ways to Entertain a Serious Audience
Hearing event attendees find some of your speakers’ presentations are mellow, boring, or yawn-fests, can feel like a debbie downer catastrophe for any event manager after putting in hours of your own blood, sweat and tears for sometimes up to a year of event planning! How dare those attendees not love the somber tones of speaker after speaker with no excitement in their voices, no creativity in their presentations – just the moot “click” “click” of the PowerPoint remote slowly fading from one slide into the next as your audience starts to dread spending their time, money and patience sitting in a stuffy, crowded ballroom… yikes.
There are several ways as an event planner you can mix things up to bring some creativity and spunk into making sure you liven the mood when entertaining serious audiences. Check out these five awesome ways to bring some life into your audiences – maybe one will work for you as you plan future events!
Bring in a Hook
You can loose an audience in a matter of seconds, especially if you’re going down a rabbit hole of old, useless tactics everyone has heard before. Nobody pays attention to boring things today – you need to grab an audience by surprising them with a hook. Just like a catchy song, (think Katy Perry, Taylor Swift, Beyoncé, Jay-Z…you get the picture), the “hook” is what makes or breaks it for any artist today. Find a way to catch your audience’s attention – find speakers who will go beyond outside of the box, and against conventional wisdom by making a statement that will blow people away. Contradict the norm, start discussions in the middle of presentations – involve the audience. Every attendee has an opinion today; so let them express those opinions by becoming a part of the speaker’s presentations.
Add in Some Funk
No matter who may be in an audience at any event, everyone loves entertainment culture. Think about ways to liven up an event crowd by starting the day off with a morning wake-up by performers. You can have a local band come in, circus performers, musicians, or fire throwers – think of ways that tie into your overall theme of the event, and have your audience members included in the performance. There’s no better way to start of a day of long event sessions and networking than to blow the roof of the place – literally! Plus, if will be a great conversation piece during down time throughout the day, and at networking events. Be sure to capture all of the exciting moments via photos and video for social media and to send out to the attendees after the event.
Make Them Curious
There’s no better way to capture an audience’s attention than to get them curious about what’s in store later in the day, in the hour, or maybe in the next minute. Consider starting your keynote session off with a clue, or hint at something that may be happening soon in the session. Get your audience guessing, and have them use social media and the event hashtag to relay their comments and guesses. Create a fun contest out of the hint, and have several winners throughout the day as clues start to unfold and attendees figure out the answers. People love to win prizes at events, so why not make a fun day out of it, and start by giving everyone the hint in your keynote session!
Be a Revolutionary
Every event today has basically the same format and structure when it comes to the agenda. You walk into a room – small or large, grab a seat, and listen to someone talk about technology, a product, a case study, marketing, etc for 60 minutes and toss a few tweets into your app and then move onto the next session. Try something different. As mentioned earlier, it’s more exciting to bring an audience into the presentations. Create sessions that are more “hands-on” – have questions written up for audience members to discuss in these sessions, and from an entrepreneurial perspective, find ways to start a new company, or brainstorm how to socially engage with audiences in different ways, or think about tools that work for some people that may not work for others.
The purpose here is to use the session as a whole, rather than sitting and listening to one person for an hour. By collaborating, we tend to learn more, hear new ideas and find it easier to express our thoughts out loud.
Make Them Dance
I think Ellen DeGeneres is onto something with the whole dancing thing. If you’ve been living in a bubble for the last 12 years, Ellen is the new Oprah. And, her favorite thing to do at the beginning of every episode is dance. It’s pretty amazing. If you think about dancing makes everyone feel good. It makes you smile, and simply puts you in a great mood. Why not have small dance breaks at events? You can have them in the middle of sessions, at networking events, in expo halls, during meetings – why not? It will be something everyone will talk about for the rest of the event, and for years to come!
Bringing a little life to serious audiences is a must. Nobody likes to see a room filled with stern looking men and women not having a great time at an event, no matter what type of event it is. There are so many ways to liven up a room, and by trying some of these creative ideas; surely one will do the trick to turn those frowns upside down!
What other ideas have your tried to make a sappy room turn into a happy room at events today?