200 unique event ideas to surprise your attendees.
The only article you need in 2018 to plan successful events that wow attendees.
It’s so tough to impress attendees these days, won’t you agree?
That feeling of ‘seen it, done it’ it’s always lingering around.
We need inspiration and creativity more than ever.
Our boss demands them, our attendees want them, our sponsors crave them.
Finding new ideas is in the top five biggest challenges event professionals have in 2018.
When it gets to corporate event planning, new event ideas are the second priority on the list of planners.
If you would like a copy of this research for publishing you can request it here: State of the Event Industry Research 2018
So how do you impress attendees, regardless of the type of events you plan?
The devil is in the details my friends.
Sometimes it’s those little twists you add to small details of your event that change perceptions. This is why we are giving you the most comprehensive database to date on event ideas. We are making it public and sharing it with you.
Here is what you’ll find in this article:
- 20 Fundraising Event Ideas That Make a Difference
- 20 Entertainment Ideas to Make your Event Guests Go Wow!
- 20 Promotional Ideas for Events: Start Selling Tickets Now!
- 20 Community Event Ideas That Bring People Together
- 20 Company Event Ideas to Go From Yawn to Yay
- 20 Public Event Ideas To Make Everything Go as Planned
- 20 of the Best Innovative Event Ideas to Surprise Attendees
- 20 Social Event Ideas to Make Your Guests Connect
- 20 Unique Special Event Ideas to Impress Your Guests
- 20 Corporate Event Ideas to Use Today
Fundraising events must be among the most difficult types of events out there. You are inviting people in a room to ask for their money. For a good cause, of course, but still you are asking for their money.
Coming up with cool fundraising ideas that make an impact is not always easy. Getting the audience to empathize with your cause can be a challenge.
No worries, we are here to help.
Let’s look first at some strategies to tackle the ever changing world of fundraising events, then we will share some of the most effective fundraising ideas out there.
Stories can truly connect your audience’s emotions to the cause you are fundraising for. Without a face or story to represent your fundraising need, your donors won’t be able to envision or feel exactly how worthy your cause is. People are inclined to give when they connect on an emotional level with a speaker or a personal journey. By sharing these types of heartfelt stories with your audience at an event, you are much more likely to increase your charitable contributions.
Tug the heartstrings:
- At the event, set aside a time to educate your audience about your cause and show them the impact they are making.
- Use storytelling through things like photographs, videos, quotations, and artwork.
- Providing your donors with actual examples of where the money raised is going and the impact it is having, will provide gratification to your donors and encourage them to continue giving during future campaigns. You should always be looking for the chance to show your donors what their gifts are accomplishing.
Cater to Your Donor
Everyone loves to feel special at an event, especially a high-level donor or top-tier sponsor. You should try to make each one of your guests feel like the most important person in the room, in order to provide a great customer service experience and make them more inclined to open their pocketbooks for your charity. By making attendees feel special, they will be much more inclined to give to your cause or spend some extra money while attending your event. Everyone enjoys feeling like a VIP, so do your best to show all of the guests attending your event that their dollar truly matters.
Make them feel special:
- Calling your guests by name upon arrival and recognizing them for their generosity at every chance you get, will go a really long way in providing a positive and lasting impression.
- Place VIP board members’ names on the invitation. When people receive an invitation if they recognize a name they feel more obligated and motivated to attend.
- Place VIPs on your event board. People who give buy-in and advice on something feel an added incentive to see how it turns out, which means they’ll also attend. This also helps you build a closer relationship with them.
Being connected to your donors and supporters during the event is easier than ever with social media and digital devices. Being tapped into the vibe of your outing will give you a good perspective on the impact your event has had and perhaps the likelihood of your fundraising success.
Are people sharing information about your cause or event with their network? Fundraising is a very social project in this digitally connected world. Almost every day we see someone online who is raising money or awareness for a cause they care about. By making your events more socially connected you will increase your visibility and build upon your potential fundraising income.
- You can follow along with your group through event hashtags and apps during the event
- Don’t be afraid to ask attendees how they are doing with pre-and post-event surveys!
- Connect the digital and physical attendees with a live social wall during your event and flood with messages of donations and support for the cause.
Here are 20 ideas to bolster fundraising revenue at your next event.
- Silent Auction
Whether it is experiences or donated products and items, silent auctions can be an interesting way to raise funds during the event without the hassle of organizing a real auction. Bidders simply fill out a form with their information and the highest amount they would pay for each item. Highest bid wins. Make it interesting by adding valuable items or experiences such as coaching or speaker sessions for the corporate crowd.
- Donation Matching
Find a sponsor or company to match the donation amount that you raise so that you can immediately double it. This incentivizes guests to donate more as they know it will be worth twice as much as they give. If you can’t find someone to do this for your event as a whole you could ask individual sponsors to double their bid if you reach a certain criterion, e.g. finish a sporting challenge or reach a milestone amount.
- Digital Donations
Don’t forget about your digital attendees who may want to help raise funds but are unable to attend. Making digital donations available by sharing links to a secure funding page on your event social media can help expand reach and makes fundraising more accessible. It also works well during a live stream or social media wall and makes fundraising accessible before, during and after your event.
- Donation Kiosks
The traditional donation box is getting a revamp with kiosks that take contactless or card payments, no more having to cash checks for your fundraiser.
- Benefitted Keynote
Invite guests who are affected by the cause you are trying to raise to speak at the keynote on behalf of others. Motivational or inspiring stories, as well as seeing the affected can hit home for many and encourage more donations.
Highly popular, particularly with low budgets because you can have prizes donated and it’s simply the cost of the tickets that you have to pay for. Incentivize this further by introducing a 50:50 split where the tickets are placed into a bowl and the prize is half of the amount raised by the ticket sales. The other half goes to the designated charity.
- Bring to Buy
From cakes and food to clothing or nearly new items, bring to buy are highly popular for fundraisers. It prompts others to have a declutter or get creative while working towards a good cause at the same time.
- Sponsored Bar
Rather than a free bar, the sponsor agrees to match whatever was made in drinks and donate to a charity. This is perfect, particularly if they are marketing with a custom cocktail so it is a win-win and also encourages drinking for a good cause!
- Pay Per Themes
If you have a crowd that love to dress up, create a theme that they have to pay to enter. For example, pay $5 to come to the event in an ugly jumper, fancy dress or themed costume. These are particularly fun for corporate events where attendees end up wearing the costumes around the office first. You could turn this around by paying to see someone else dress up rather than yourself, the one with the most pledges wins (or loses depending on your perception) but the amount raised is donated in their name.
Attendees are more likely to pay to play games or activities they are participating in which makes sports and gamification popular for fundraising. Organize a simple pay to play mini-game such as guess the sweets in the jar or go big and organize an entire sports tournament as part of your event. The winners can receive a product or service from sponsors and the money goes to the charity.
- The “Donate” Button
This is a simple button that attendees can click on your website and social media for quick and easy donations. You could also recreate it with a donation box of the same shape! Bringing a quirky twist to the traditional and ensuring it stands out.
- Full Valet Service
An excellent corporate fundraising idea is to have a valet and car wash available for attendees while they are in the event. The proceeds go to the designated charity, guests are more likely to pay a bit extra for the cause and they have the car cleaned while having fun!
- Purchase Tables
A traditional fundraising option is to have tables available to purchase at the event. This adds a sense of exclusivity and ensures that overheads are met and exceeded at large, seated fundraising events.
- Homemade Carnival
If the budget allows carnival rides like the one below, excellent but if it doesn’t there are still plenty of fundraising opportunities for your event within the carnival theme. You could opt for smaller, homemade stalls such as the coconut shy, plate smash, raffles and tombola stalls or alternatively for corporate carnivals you could play dunk the boss!
Credit: Fiesta Party
- Influencer Awareness
Get an influencer or celebrity guest involved in your fundraising for causes that they are passionate about. Even if you can’t get them to attend the event themselves they could still publicly donate to your cause, prompting others to do the same. Plus, it’s an excellent way to spread awareness.
- Animal Guests
For animal fundraising, work with local shelters or sanctuaries to bring animal guests to your event to pose for photos or be part of the keynote. Animals strike a chord with people and chances are you’ll have attendees with pets so they will be more likely to donate seeing the animals themselves. Everyone loves an underdog (or cat) story.
Credit: Megan Hunter
- Charity Photo Booth
Capitalize on the selfie and photo booth popularity at your event by turning them into fundraising machines. You could have them branded with the charity or cause information to boost awareness or offer pay per print with the proceeds going to charity.
- Fundraising Exhibition
Ask attendees to take photographs and submit them before the event, have the best ones blown up onto canvas and create a “crowdsourced” art exhibition. Charge for tickets and auction the photos at the end (or have a silent auction!)
- Host a Slumber Party
Have pyjamas as the fancy dress idea and play an old movie, cinema style. Charge for movie tickets at your event as well as for popcorn and drinks. Offer other areas, for example a pamper zone or lounge, custom cocktails and pillow fight entertainment as part of the party to raise funds.
- Fashion Show
Have local talent, boutiques or even attendees submit their fashion designs and charge for entry to the fashion show. You could offer this as part of the entertainment at your event or go all out and make it a feature itself.
Experience is more than just a buzzword. Creating a great experience for event attendees is essential if you want your event to be memorable. To keep your attendees’ interests piqued, you need to keep them engaged. One of the best ways to do that is through entertainment.
Capture the imagination of your attendees with unique performers, fun activities and unique experiences to create a buzz around your event. It can attract attendees, give audience satisfaction and increase brand exposure in a big way. Get it right and your attendees will do your social media marketing for you!
3 Tips For Event Entertainment
You want to entertain on various levels, big and small. Of course, a big entertainment act is a great idea but what will attendees do while they wait? Consider different tiers of entertainment for continued amusement that hits the right note.
Different tier mentality:
- Consider queuing. If you have elements of your event that may turn into queues and these are unavoidable, entertain them! Having walking entertainers to interact or big screens near the waiting area will make time fly by for guests.
- Amuse crowds. Just because you have minimal space to maneuver everyone doesn’t mean you are limited to stage entertainment. Simply adding props or interactive crowd games can make it more enjoyable and engaging.
- Think small. Don’t forget to think small and consider the personal touches that make entertainment memorable. This could be something as simple as ensuring there is table trivia at a corporate gala for networking, to interactive speakers or roaming entertainment.
Make It Social
Don’t just entertain your attendees, entertain your audience by making it go viral! This improves brand reach by getting your event trending and shared globally.
Time to connect
- Get emotive. People will want to post and share your event if it evokes strong emotions; be it surprise, excitement, awe or amusement! If you use an act, a show or a performer that is so unique (and can also incorporate the brand!) that people are stirred to feeling amazed or surprised, then they are going to want to share their experience with others.
- Record it. Don’t rely on attendees to capture the entertainment (particularly if it is a surprise) so ensure you have someone recording it, you never know when the footage may come in handy for full previews or exclusives.
- Plan ahead. Don’t be afraid to put some thought into how to make the entertainment viral. Do some research on what is popular, create a buzz that includes entertainment teasers on social media and you could even invite press for coverage!
Remember Your Audience
Your event style and type will largely dictate what is appropriate or not. Corporate event profs will first have to take a few factors into consideration when ensuring that the entertainment ‘fits’ the event:
Know who you’re talking to:
- Analyse your demographic. Determine age, social background and sex, and choose entertainment accordingly. A tribute to ‘One Direction’ or ‘Justin Bieber’ may be suitable for a corporate family day event, but not for a black-tie gala dinner.
- Consider venue space. Venue size and location is a factor that many event planners and organizers forget (or remember at the last minute!). This is important, as it will play a part in deciding whether or not you can have that aerial team you want or full-scale swing band!
- Budget. Do you have a strict budget that you have to work within, or is money not a problem? The amount of money a company is prepared to spend on entertainment will affect the options available.
Hungry for event entertainment ideas? Here are 20 things to inspire your next event.
Everything from beach balls, balloons, giant inflatables or even smaller ideas like bubbles can make the experience more interactive, particularly with huge crowds and audiences that it is difficult to get individual feedback from. These can be a way of tying themes together while making it fun and individual as attendees get involved and play games among themselves which can be a particularly good idea at concerts or festivals.
Forget pens and paper, this is caricature art for the New Media Age! Digital caricaturists are one of the most popular options for corporate events that require walkaround entertainment that incorporates technology. Not only will guests want to tweet or post their personal works of art (which can include company logos, branding or products!), but the artist can also email the caricatures to attendees or post them live on to company social media sites!
For some, adding a mythical or magical booth such as palm, tarot or tea leaf reading can be more fun because of the “supernatural” element and things they can’t explain. In the same way, magicians and card tricksters are popular because people enjoy the things they can’t explain. Remember, the better the reader or performer, the more of an impact they will make.
Geared towards corporate clients, artists will perform using products i.e. ladders, machinery, etc. These shows also have added wow factor, as they are a fast paced, high energy performance.
They say that smells trigger memories right? Well, why not ensure your guests remember your event with an aroma DJ! Using an ‘aroma laboratory’, these new and exciting DJs mix a blend of oils, incense and real pheromones; “controlling the vibes of the dance floor by mixing a seamless blend of scents!”.
This act gives the term ‘instant art’ a whole new meaning! Your attendees will be bursting to share these little, drinkable, personal works of art via social media. The artist uses a portable coffee machine to capture the likeness of event attendees in their very own cup of delicious coffee.
Retro Video Games
Nostalgia can enhance enjoyment at an event, and adding retro video games can bring attendees back to their youth. This awesome idea takes it up a notch by adding a giant element to it and having the traditional Super Mario on a massive controller which can also get others involved playing together!
Credit: Perfect Parties USA
Music is emotive and generally speaks to people so can be an excellent entertainment idea that appeals to many attendees. Make this more interesting by having unique instruments or something different for example dueling pianos on stage. You could also split the crowd into groups and have a musical riff-off against one another or have them complete musical challenges such as singing lines one after the other to create an echo effect.
Classy Table Tennis
A favorite game with a sophisticated twist! Table tennis is easy to create into mini competitions and you can have up to 4 attendees playing at a time. Create a round robin tournament with teams for a corporate retreat or have “first to five” games to keep it short and sweet!
Credit: Reserve Modern
Whether it’s for a dancefloor, event entrance or the main hall floor, responsive and interactive flooring can be an interesting idea that is a big hit and makes the venue more engaging without permanent fixtures or adjustments. This can usually be achieved by using projectors and tracking cameras for different effects; some involve moving scenes being displayed with elements interacting with the user as they walk past e.g. a koi pond where the fish swim away when you walk near them. Alternatively, you could have a game where attendees have to run and catch different elements to create a high score, creating an interactive floor game. This could be incorporated on larger floors or upscaled to suit interactions with more guests.
For technology and gadget lovers/events, iPad magicians are the perfect act to amaze and entertain your guests. iPad magicians perform bespoke shows for the digital age, and many high-profile brands and events are eager to experience this unique brand of magical entertainment.
Lego is always hours of fun. Turn kids toys into adult ones by supersizing Lego blocks. You can incorporate this into team building activities at corporate retreats as well as competitions at trade shows by giving attendees 2 minutes to make the best Lego creation, it would be a fun way to drive traffic to your booth. If you don’t have the space for big Lego, why not add miniature Lego packs to table settings for guests to do while they are sitting.
Credit: Prue Boalch
Video Mapping Dance Crews
These are proving to be a big hit for corporate events. New technologies have allowed performers to take their dance/visual performances to the next level as humans and computers merge. These acts can incorporate specific music and graphics, as well as logos and corporate messages.
Interactive Wait Staff
If you have large crowds but minimal space, particularly for staging, you can get on their level by having interactive wait staff. This could be in the form of singing or dancing staff as well as impersonators, rollerbladers or wearable tables all serving food and drinks while interacting with guests. Ideas like this get people talking and act as conversation starters as well as memorable ideas and experiences.
A sure-fire way to involve the audience when you have little floor space or room is to have aerial décor, artists and entertainers, performing above their heads. It makes the venue more interactive as a whole while attendees look upwards and can make use of dead space without impacting the floor area if you have a large crowd or audience. Aerial performers also add a thrill element because they are so high up and above the attendees that they feel a part of the act itself.
Hire celebrities or influencers to attend, speak or interact at your event to generate a buzz. Alternatively, you could have them do a remote Q&A session on your social media channels as part of the entertainment. Don’t have the budget? Try a lookalike to pose with guests on the event floor or entrance, it will definitely get people talking on social media, particularly who is the best one!
Invite street entertainers to create an urban atmosphere at your event. They are always popular because of their innovative approach to performing and you could offer a variety of options from beatboxers, tricking, break dancers or homemade instruments.
These talented artists will perform custom made sand animations for a variety of corporate events. These shows have a definite wow factor that will ensure your event is remembered!
Laughter can create positive memories associated with your event and a good comedian can also act as an MC for other elements of the event. Make sure you hire a comedian whose subject matter will fit your tone and demographic, otherwise you could be memorable for all the wrong reasons.
From fire eaters and sword swallowers to stunt bikes or ball tricks, stunt performers leave a lasting impression and have serious wow factor.
Even if you are the best event planner in the world, if people don’t know about your event, they won’t come.
With the ever-competitive event market it is important to stand out and while this may come at a price, it makes the effort worthwhile.
Good promotion can generate more income from sponsors, as well as improve ticket sales, as brands only want to work with events that can improve their reach as well.
But how do you stand out with so much noise out there?
Event planners say that increased competition is their biggest hurdle in 2018.
So let’s look at some tactics first to approach event promotion, then 20 incredible ideas to sell out!
- Work With Your Venue
Often, your venue has its own PR team that will be able to lend a helping hand and understands its specifications to promote itself meaning that you can focus on the event at hand. After all, it is in the best interests of the venue that your event is a success.
Utilize your assets:
- Discuss what you need. Always talk about what your end goal is for promotion. Creating hype, building awareness or driving ticket sales can have slightly different approaches, so make sure you are on the same page.
- Get your event listed on their event website with a ticket link as early as possible.
- Do the venue have a newsletter of interested event goers? Can they feature your forthcoming event?
- Tap into their local knowledge. Do they have contacts and suppliers that may extend reach or have they got inside knowledge into the city you are hosting your event in that might help?
- Stay Current
People have busy lives, so it is important to keep in the forefront of their minds or they will forget about your event. It’s nothing personal!
Get to the forefront:
- Grow your email list. Do everything you can to grow your email list with those that are truly interested in your event. Having a pop up on your site is a great way to encourage people to receive updates so you can keep in touch if they are not ready to purchase tickets yet.
- Newsletter reminders. Use your email list to share tantalising content with newsletter subscribers, but target it towards those that have bought tickets and those still to book. Make the subject line pop so you have better open rates.
- Social media updates. Engage on social media and ensure that you are around to ask any questions or alleviate issues in the lead up to your event.
- Keep it interesting. If you bore them at this stage, chances are they won’t be attending. You could use different mediums or graphics on your channel as well as a temporary change of colors or profile pictures to add that reminder.
- Content Accessibility
Make sure that you are putting your efforts into being accessible when it comes to promoting your event. This could be sharing on different media where your audience are active or simply not confusing your message and diluting interest.
- Adapt to your audience. If your audience favors Snapchat, start getting up to date on stories and filters you can use. If it’s Instagram, design stunning images that will turn heads! Promotion is all about breaking through the noise and reaching your demographic.
- Be wherever it matters. Don’t just limit yourself to the normal social networks (although these are useful too.) be where your audience is and this means understanding where is best to reach them.
- Native checkouts. Allow tickets to be purchased via the different sites and mediums you have promoted on e.g. Facebook. This makes the process efficient meaning you’re more likely to get sales rather than distracted potential guests.
Drawing a blank when it comes to promotional ideas? Here are 20 ideas to kick start your promotions right now.
Put together a free two-part webinar that precludes the event and gets attendees excited and educated which could include sneak peeks from speakers as well as industry relevant information. Make part 2 available post-event that includes highlights and key takeaways.
Good old billboards
Nobody cares about billboards. Right? Not so fast. If you use them strategically and you target the areas where your attendees tend to come from, you have a fantastic opportunity right there. Search for attendees addresses on your previous year registration. Identify areas with higher concentration of attendees. Whether it is national or local, you can pinpoint specifically those areas sending you more attendees and expose them to a very targeted message. They will feel surprised and intrigued.
Strategic Influencer marketing
18% of event planners say that influencer marketing is the most effective tactic to sell tickets. Identify the influencers in your niche that tend to collaborate with events. We are not talking about general influencers popular on a given social networks. We are talking about only those that attend similar events. Invite them to speak, offer VIP treatment, pay for accommodation and expenses. Expect them to blog, tweet, insta and video about your event in return. Remember to get them to disclose your partnership. It’s not just cool, it works!
Temporary Website Re-Branding
For a limited time, change the colors of your website to include the theme or vibe of your event. You could add a landing page that takes you straight to the event details with FAQ’s and the information attendees would need. You could also include page pop-ups for commonly used posts or pages to highlight the new event to market and let people know. The important thing to remember is to keep with your brand but make it pop and stand out so that users are aware that it is something new and something to be excited about.
Targeted Flyer Dropping
Let’s be honest, flyers are becoming less and less effective and it is no longer good enough to stand in the town center and hand them out because they normally just find their way to the bin. Flyers however don’t have to be wasted and they are still effective if you target them directly to your demographic only and this works better if you choose a niche.
For example, if you are organizing a running event, an effective way of targeted flyer dropping is at other local running or sporting events because your target demographic is all in one place and has their minds on running or fitness. Often, the organizers will allow other brands or organizers to leaflet drop in the goody bags or at the start/finish in exchange for providing a few helpful volunteers for the day (there’s nothing to stop you branding them as well).
Millions of cars drive on the roads every day and other than the radio it can be hard to reach them, spruce your car up with signage and car attachments and drive around or if you prefer, advertise using Taxi’s through big city centers as they are more noticeable and stand out from the crowd.
Iams chose to include a wagging cat tail to the back while Snickers renamed a yellow cab as a “Snaxi” during one of their advertising campaigns.
What about remarketing?
Event professionals wildly ignore the power of remarketing when it gets to event promotion. It is a great idea to convert more attendees. If someone visits your site, you have two special pixels installed to follow them everywhere on Facebook and Google network. If they abandoned your ticket purchase process, you can incentivize them with a small discount. They are hot leads, you just need to push the decision.
Featured Speaker videos
Ask your speakers to send short videos shot from their smartphones (in landscape mode) telling your audience why they need to attend their session and what are they going to cover. This is usually a great incentive to make the audience comfortable with the topics that will be discussed and quickly evaluate whether attending your event is worth it. Speakers have an incredible influence on attendees.
Get suppliers to promote your event.
While we know how paid speakers and performers can be valuable to help promote an event, especially on social media, we often forget about suppliers that already signed up to attend. As content marketing grows, our suppliers increase their leverage on social networks. Create some collaterals for them to use on social networks, saying that they will attend the event. Also think about banners they can use in their email signatures, customized according to their presence at the show (find us at booth 11000 for an exhibition).
Claim support from local authorities
When you run an event somewhere you are bringing an enormous amount of business to local suppliers, communities and cities. What are they giving you in return? Most times a nice logo to use on your website. Get more that that! Ask them to promote the event on their social channels, to use their database if they have one. Reach out to CVBs and DMOs to see if they offer opportunities for free promotion of your event. Asking is more than legitimate. You are bringing business!
Host MeetupsIn the lead up to the event you should nurture your local community with monthly meetups to keep the interest alive in the topic of your event. You need to invest in your core community if you want them to act as ambassadors once the big event comes. If you don’t have time to run your own, sponsor some little events with similar attendee profiles, especially if they are user run. You can get incredible value by tapping in the actual audience that will attend the event.
Step up your press factor
Do you have a press strategy for your event? Local news stations are always on the lookout for the event of the day. You really need to make sure you reach out to local press to the best of your ability. It is vital to secure as much free coverage as possible. One mention in one outlet could mean a disproportionate amount of tickets sold. Therefore make sure you reach out to local stations with a good pitch that has a story built inside. Don’t just send press releases, send a story to cover. That can be one of your performers, the type of the event.
Step up your social media game
Many many times, social media handles for events wake up a couple of months before the event, only to go to sleep a month after the event is gone. In modern days, you will lose your algorithm influence on Instagram, Twitter and Facebook. While it was possible in the past to keep your influence at all times, that is not the case anymore. With the recent announcements Facebook made, either you keep an ongoing strategy all year long or you are out! Other social networks are catching up so keep yourself up to date.
Use content marketing strategically
If you want to rank higher on Google and convert attendees that may search for events, you need to sort out your SEO strategy. Read this comprehensive event marketing guide with hundreds of event marketing tactics to keep you on top of things.
Behind-the-Scenes Build-up Videos
Post videos of the set-up or exclusive clips behind-the-scenes during the day to generate a buzz. Audiences love to “see behind the curtain” so give them a glimpse of what your event has taken to get them the end result they love.
Pre-event Q&A for Attendees
Some attendees may be turned off by some unknowns and you haven’t been as communicative as you could have. Hosting a Q&A that is event specific not only allows you to promote the line-up and key features but can give you the option to answer any logistical questions “straight from the horse’s mouth.”
Some may argue that radio is dead but it shouldn’t be underestimated. For local events, the local station can key into your target audience and raise awareness while national radio, although more expensive has a much wider reach. It is important to remember that well-known stations are used regularly by motorists so securing a top rush-hour spot will have your event heard by thousands in the car, not just for those listening at home. So, if you have the budget it is worth tapping into. Also, invite a station to coveryour event live for exclusive access and fun promotion!
Run a giveaway to build event hype with the prize including event tickets or a VIP experience for guests! This will get everyone sharing before the event and encourages guests to follow up, plus you would hope the winner would share their experience too for a bit of FOMO!
Make these ahead of time or encourage sponsored lenses at your event so that attendees can augment their reality. These lenses allow users to create layers that interact with real-life so you could make several elements or props animated when viewed through the lens. This gets attendees interacting via Snapchat and sharing all over social media for promotion.
This could be anyone from an industry professional to a celebrity or influencer but this involves paying them to promote your event. Use technology tools to involve your core fans to share and get a commission on each ticket sold. There are tools available to generate codes and share your event with the top contacts that may purchase a ticket. Be specific with your ambassador program.
There’s nothing quite like a community event for creating a local call to arms or bringing people together over a common cause. Whether trying to affect local change, raise funds or simply bring a group of people together, community events can be the best way to do this if done correctly.
Like any event, organizing a community event comes with its own pitfalls and challenges. People need to be informed, engaged and motivated; and like any event, attendee security and safety are paramount.
If you want to organize better community events, you’ve come to the right place. These tips and ideas will help you inspire your attendees and create amazing community events.
3 Considerations of Community Events:
- Protect Yourself
There can be increased liability with community events and this is something you’ll need to consider while planning, to make sure you can have the event that you have in mind!
- Research insurance. You will often need special types of permits and insurance when dealing with the public and the liability that goes with it so do all of your research to keep completely protected.
- Collate your paperwork. Request and create risk assessments for certain activities e.g. those that involve risk, kids or fireworks. Ensure your paperwork is in order BEFORE the event, if you don’t you could leave yourself liable.
- Do further health and safety checks on the day to make sure everything is operating as it should be. For larger events have a dedicated health and safety officer.
- Create a Team
They say it “takes a village” and community events have a village at their disposal so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
- Find the specialists. Is there someone in the community is a catering expert? Ask their advice for the best deals in town or who to bring in for mobile catering options. The joy of communities is that you have a network of information to tap into. Use it.
- Get together a passionate team. The downside to community organizing is that it can snowball and you’ll find yourself with too much work or many people to manage, so keep things tight knit and delegate what you can, within reason.
- After every meeting make sure that everyone is clear on their own specific actions and deadlines.
- Think Community During Planning
It’s important to remember the primary objective of a community event and that is usually to benefit the community! With this in mind, aim for local sustainability and keep this in the forefront.
- Supply from local businesses. It’s for a local cause and you’re more likely to get excellent rates because the event will directly benefit them. Even better, see what they can contribute and provide.
- Consult with the community. What do they actually want from the event and how could it be achieved?
- Think about how local schools, youth groups, churches, sports teams, local interest groups and activities can have a platform at the event.
Ready to produce a fantastic community celebration? Here are 20 ideas that are guaranteed to be popular….
A fantastic community catering idea that involves each attendee bringing a food item to contribute to the buffet table. For larger events, you want to make sure you have everything from starters to sweets so you can allocate meal (or drink) types to groups of people who can then organize with each other what they are going to specifically bring. This is an excellent way of bringing people together and starts a conversation on what everyone has brought.
It doesn’t have to be Winter to incorporate a fun participatory activity for your attendees because synthetic ice rinks are becoming popular. They don’t use wet ice but the best synthetics rinks can offer a comparable skating experience and can be built indoors or outdoors, even in the height of summer. Accommodating large numbers all at once, synthetic ice rinks are energy conscious and environmentally friendly. Give guests of all ages a unique experience to get active.
#Rent us NOW! We cater for #familyday, #carnivals, #birthdayparties , #exhibitionstand , #exhibition Red shirt skater invasion 💞😛Like-Ice!Asia booth @Dell Event 07 Oct.2017 #likeiceasia #likeicedome #likeice.com #likeiceasia.com #fitforlife #iceskating #portableiceskating #kidsforkids #icehockeyfederation #kurtharand #redbullchallenge #franchise #businessforyou #samuelbrukhethal #sunwayvelocitymall #syntheticrinkmalaysia #bazaarinspirasikubyssm #amansentral #amansentraliceskatingrink #aeontebrau #aeontebrauskatingrink #ministryifhealthmy #dell #dellglobalbusinesscenter #penang
Credit: Like-Ice! Asia
Offer cooking classes and workshops with the attendees being able to add their creations to the buffet (or sell them for fundraising.) Local restaurants could set-up a pop-up stand to accommodate in exchange for signage as an interesting sponsorship idea. Of course, you could also make it a competition too.
Street Party/Block Party
While these can be difficult to get permits for (if you need to close the street), they are excellent and memorable because they involve bringing neighbors together so are more likely to become recurring. These traditions help to create safer neighborhoods and give children an opportunity for a warmer environment to grow up in.
How best to get everyone motivated for a morning event than serving a pancake breakfast? It’s delicious and fairly cost effective because you can offer a variety of topping but don’t need to worry about other catering options.
Local Walking Tours
Add a walking tour to your event so that attendees can see some of the best community sites. This could be themed such as restaurants, breweries and local cuisine or opt for historical or cultural significance.
Crowd Activated Interactive Games
Enhanced technology means that you can use large digital screens to display games that are controlled by audience participation. For example, audience voice activated arm wrestling involves splitting the crowd in half and giving them, two separate sounds e.g. clapping or shouting. The software picks up the sounds and the loudest sounds win the game. This results in the digital display showing it as an arm wrestling match. There are plenty of other options, from table tennis to soccer on screen, with different interaction techniques but it is bound to get the crowd pumping.
Radio can be a big part of daily life and the broadcasters can be minor celebrities in their own right. One of the DJs could host the main stage. Make an agreement to live broadcast from the event on community or local radio to reach the attendees that can’t make it but still make them feel like part of the event. Branded vehicles and broadcast enabled vans will always cause quite a stir on site and they often have plenty of giveaways to hand out. Interview attendees of all ages and highlight local interest stories. It might encourage those that live nearby to come along, hearing about everything that is going on in the local area.
With attendees putting increasing importance on health, fitness workshops or those ideas with healthy undertones can always be a hit. Have a leader on stage taking the crowd through the warmup and exercises, play some upbeat music and get everyone moving. Although this is most effective with large open areas (festivals are also quite compatible) you can still make this work with limited space by adapting the type of exercises and opting for intermittent high-intensity moves on the spot.
An informal catering option that breeds community and networking while being very easy to plan and instigate. Designate a griller (or grillers) for the day and make sure you start cooking early so that you are prepared when the lunchtime rush comes. You can also have a line for buns, cheese, condiments and salad so more people can get involved.
Give back to the community by incorporating a drive for something that directly benefits them. For example, blast some music and get everyone picking litter in the local park before being rewarded with event fun and games. It adds a sense of community pride and the work gets done much faster (and cheaper) than if the local authority has to deal with it.
Adding a participatory idea such as craft stations offer a shortstop for the creative types which could be turned into a memento from the day. You could make this extra sustainable by sourcing from the local art and craft store or working towards a community initiative like these throwing and painting bowls that aim to raise money to fight hunger in the community.
Students and community members are hard at work throwing and painting bowls for our upcoming fundraiser Empty Bowls 2018 on February 15th. Join us for this event and you'll get to take home a handmade bowl, enjoy delicious soup, and most importantly, fight hunger in our community. Learn more through link in bio and plan to join us! . . . . #food #foodbank #fooddrive #fortcollins #loveland #larimerco #plantitforward #hunger #hungerfree #hungerfreelarimerco #solveseniorhunger #nokidhungry #noseniorhungry #northerncolorado #wellington #windsor #estespark #EndHunger #FightHunger #feedingamerica #feedingitforward #charity #charityevent
Credit: Food Bank For Larimer County
Giant Garden Games
Tug on the nostalgia and create a family games day where you can divide into teams to play oversized games such as chess, connect 4 or Jenga.
Open Air Movie Screen
Organise a drive-in screening of an old movie, where cars can pull up but still be waited on and have their orders taken by staff. It’s a great way to bring everyone together but allow them their own space, perfect for the introverted community.
Invest in the local scenery by starting a gardening community event where you aim to spruce up the public areas, take care of the existing plants and potentially plant more trees. You could create “swag” with potted plants and seeds for attendees to take home and grow in line with some of the garden plants!
Use music to make your event emotive and have an eclectic mix from all genres to appeal to everyone. Offer a dance-a-thon alongside your event that couples can enter or simply have non-stop music until the party ends. Make this more interesting by having duelling bands or pianos or a skilled MC to mix things up and try new musical combinations of classical and current music.
Order a drinks or food truck to cater your event. It’s informal but you can have sophisticated options and bespoke drinks that can park up and leave at the end of the day. Alternatively, you could opt for carts or cycling stations that can roam your event, particularly useful on a summer day in the park.
Is your community or event near water? A new popular trend is to take paddleboards or small boats out and collect litter from waterways to keep them clean and be sustainable. You can have volunteers on hand to help raise awareness and educate passers-by in terms of the damage rubbish can do to local wildlife and habitats. You could print signage and leaflets or work with a local charity who already has these resources.
Turn a communal or local public area into the perfect place for treasure hunts! These could be innovative with QR codes offering digital rewards or something simpler such as sweet treats for the players. It could be another idea for local sponsorship ideas with community suppliers offering prizes to find.
Encouraging teams at a community event can encourage more guests to attend and adds a competitive element that most enjoy. You could raise funds by making it a pay to play trivia where the teams chip in some money to play shorter versions of a pub quiz throughout the day and then see how their scores tally up.
All work and no play can make your event a dull place. Boring company events leave attendees feeling tired and more likely to walk away feeling like they have learned nothing.
Time has run out on boring company events. If attendees are disengaged, they aren’t retaining information. This has to change. It’s time to think beyond “death by powerpoint” and create an event that will excite and engage delegates while keeping the boss happy too.
We’ve got everything you need to bring your company events to life. Here are some ideas and tips to take your company events to the next level.
3 Top Tips For Creating Exciting Company Events
- Creative Theming
Give your guests a break from the glass and steel world of business and dress your event to impress. Design your meetings to wow your attendees.
- Consider using creative themes that relate to the to topic of the day
- Take inspiration from local landmarks, scenery and customs. For business guests flying in from afar, local themes can be a big hit.
- Take time to assess all aspects of meeting design. Use creative seating layouts to promote engagement between attendees.
- Gamification and Competition
Use eventtech to add excitement and create some healthy competition between staff. Get groups to work together collectively and get to know new colleagues and departments.
- Allocate points to reward behavior you want to encourage, such as connecting with other staff, visiting exhibitors, completing a survey, sharing on social media.
- Incorporating a leaderboard will ensure that the battle for the top spots is fierce.
- If your company supports a charity the points earned by attendees could be turned into a donation to the cause and encourage greater participation.
- Food and Drink
Food and drink can be a big part of the event experience and it can be a unique opportunity to add a touch of luxury or additional branding to the event.
- The menu for food and beverage - and the display and service of them - are excellent opportunities to reflect your brand. Walking service and food stations might be a lot more appealing than a 3-course dinner.
- Make sure you have plenty of options for all allergies, dietary preferences, religious beliefs and health choices. Ask in advance for staff to share their dietary requirements.
- For small group events consider a participatory experience where teams have to create dishes on the menu and then come together for a feast afterwards. This can be a great team bonding activity.
Need some advice on company event ideas that your boss and staff will love? Here are 20 as a starter.
Corporate Flash Mob
Add a sophisticated corporate twist to the traditional flash mob to surprise VIP guests. This Charleston flash mob was definitely entertaining and memorable.
This #throwbackthursday let’s go back to last summer when we had the great honour to meet @monty_roberts before our Charleston flashmob performance at @sunsetpolo. Summer is definitely coming again and we can’t wait for those long beautiful nights! . . #charlestondancers #flappergirls #1920s #roaring20s #gatsbytheme #greatgatsbyparty #greatgatsbytheme #charityevent #fundraiser #fundraisingideas #eventinspiration #partyideas #1920stheme #partytheme #eventprofsuk #eventplanner #nicroldan #montyroberts #unikagirls #unikadanceevents #cowdrayhouse
Make stages more engaging to capture attendee attention by using custom backdrops or staging designs. This cool western theme, coupled with some clever lighting draws attention and keeps the focus.
Credit: Encore Live
Another adrenaline filled idea that can utilize open space and be an incredible experience. For team building alternatives you can try zorb football which involves hilarious attempts at football while strapped into a giant zorb ball.
Growing in popularity, the escape room is a problem-solving idea that puts teams under pressure which is good practice for the working world and gauging who can handle it, and who can’t!
If corporate drinks are more the scene for your team, choose a cocktail workshop run by mixologists to design a custom cocktail inspired by the business or brand. They could be incorporated into the next office event and a competition to decide on which is best.
An excellent way to get rid of titles to help generate ideas and brainstorming at a corporate event. Roundtables are exactly as they insinuate and allow everyone the chance to speak freely, making innovation more likely and strengthening teams.
Particularly fun at corporate retreats, attendees have to partner up with someone with a different job role or department (the more different the better.) They then spend half a day each performing tasks from each other’s’ jobs to give an idea of what it’s like to walk a mile in each other’s shoes.
An interesting alternative to cooking workshops is a sweet treat that many can’t turn down. It allows for chocolate decoration and bespoke packages such as tours of a chocolate factory (and chocolate tasting). Will be a huge yes for those with a sweet tooth.
This sporting trend is becoming an excellent addition to conferences, offering a healthy activity that gives a sense of achievement for many. Increase the difficulty by turning it into an obstacle course or mud run and turn it into a fundraiser by getting pledges for finishing within a certain time or guessing the finishing times.
For those who can’t make it but still want to benefit from the keynote or influential speaker,s you can set up a company live stream at the event, exclusive to employees or those who still purchase tickets.
Guess The Baby
A hilarious icebreaker that helps to break the barriers between management levels is to guess the baby. Everyone brings in a picture of them between 1 and 3 years old, everyone has to try and match the baby to the photo!
Dress Down Day
Allow attendees to attend a corporate event in extra casual attire. It can feel like a day’s holiday and make them more receptive to long days or information overload! Plus, you could raise funds by having employees donate for the privilege.
Allow for more attendees and an engaging seating layout where they are spoken to in the round. It feels more intimate and if you choose your speaker right it is far more memorable. Plus, it’s an excellent idea to promote discussion and free-thinking
Friendly betting on sporting events or outcomes can add a competitive atmosphere and gets everyone talking and interacting in participation. In office sweepstakes, you can bid on the outcome of anything, from when a baby is due to what the weather will be like on a certain day, the winner gets to keep half of the final pot.
Add fun playground elements to the event, such as slides and swings which can rekindle the fun and nostalgia in guests. This makes the event more engaging and also lends to creativity. Let’s be honest, who is not going to go down the slide!
Add team-building exercises such as orienteering to your agenda because it also promotes problem solving and creativity which are all elements you want from your working team.
Dress The Boss
A corporate fundraising idea that could be adapted for the event if a team meets their sales targets! Everyone votes on the costume and when the milestone is reached, the boss has to wear the costume in the office for the day. The boss has the option to defer, for a huge sum to the employee of their choice (who can also do the same.)
Offering food and drink on the table means that professionals can focus on their conversations and discussions with food being an aside. This idea of guests being able to pour their own tea and cut their own snacks adds a level of informality that makes the group more comfortable.
Credit:Helen K. Li Purel
Offer the air of mystery by creating a corporate event such as a gala or awards dinner with the masquerade theme. It helps allow everyone to feel comfortable and ignoring roles or titles for the evening.
Modern Conference Venues
Don’t want your conference to look like a conference? Use sleek or modern venues that are usually suited to black tie affairs and give them a spruce to meet the essentials you need. This way you get the atmosphere you want with the logistics you need.
Hosting an event in public can strike fear into the heart of event the most hardy of event planners. In an uncontrolled, unfamiliar environment the number of things that can go wrong can increase considerably.
Don’t worry, EventMB has come to the rescue with a public event toolkit full of ideas that will help you get the best out of your public events. We’ve got ideas to inspire and excite attendees and tips to help you get your public events totally on point.
3 Tips For Producing a Public Event
Confirm Permissions and Public Safety
In public spaces you may need permits or a licence to host an event. Work with the relevant authorities and services to ensure you are doing everything you should be, as this will vary depending on the company you are operating in and according to the state/area/region the event is taking place.
- Lead times for public events can be long. Check on any extra paperwork you need to complete and the deadlines for it.
- Do you need to close roads? Do you need to have a police presence? Who will provide first aid cover?
- There may be a requirement to attend safety meetings with the relevant blue light services.
Communication is Key
Think about communication between staff on site. Event radios are likely to be the best method of communication for a public event. Ensure all radio holders are fully trained in operating the devices.
- Sign radios in and out so you keep track and don’t misplace any.
- Charge radios up fully before the event and every evening. Have spares available.
- Provide headsets for staff that want them, particularly those working in noisy or quiet areas.
- For larger events, have an event control room and keep a log of all radio activity.
Manage Attendance Numbers
How will you monitor numbers and safety on site? If it is a ticketed event with a clear event perimeter you have control over the flow and number of people on site. If overcrowding is likely to be a concern this needs to be addressed within the event risk assessment.
- Even if it is a free event consider making it a requirement to register for a ticket, to control numbers.
- Use clever programming to control audience movement and avoid one element becoming too overcrowded.
- Have systems in place to manage a “one out, one in” process if any areas get too busy.
Want to attract maximum numbers to your public event? Here are some ideas to inspire you.
Tethered Hot Air Balloon
This works two-fold because it creates an experience at your event that many won’t have tried, allowing attendees a ride while also being a massive promotional or signage opportunity to draw attention to the event!
Open Mic Night
From poetry slams to karaoke and musical talent showcasing their original music, an open mic can accompany a variety of events and help bring a public event indoors to transition to the evening. Just be sure to book some good musicians in between to perk things up if the submissions aren’t great!
Add a booth that can offer free (or minimally charged) helpful services that guests can’t always access. For example, a free baby car seat check, oil test or tire pressure which can be an excellent sponsorship idea for public events.
This involves placing notes or ornaments on a tree and making a wish. This can be a fundraising option for public events as well as a unique alternative to a guestbook if you have guests sign cards to add.
Offer an opportunity for informal chats and collaborate with venues with a message, you get people in the door with free coffee (or tea) and then wow them with other events or campaigns. Plus, they become the perfect focal point for parents with young children or the elderly.
Local Art Exhibitions
Create an open house for aspiring artists to showcase their work easily. Open spots for different mediums from photography, sculpture and painting to make the selection more diverse and offer it as the participatory part of your event.
Repurposing is an increasing trend and one that is quite popular so move your focus towards crafts and exciting projects. Tell attendees to bring certain recyclable materials and these can be turned into beneficial alternatives e.g. public bird feeders!
Food festivals are huge at the moment, particularly those focused on specialty foods, themes and local produce, such as Farmer’s Markets. Offer a variety of food options at stalls from providers with taster samples as well as offerings to purchase as a unique public event catering idea. Ensure variety by limiting the stalls selling different foods to maximize interest and profit for all involved. Don’t forget to ensure that different diets are catered for and provide health-conscious alternatives. Even the displays, service and method of service can be exciting. The big craze at the moment is for food trucks, with camper vans, double decker buses and bicycle trucks, just some of the ideas you may find.
“Nearly New” Sales
These fairs’ are designed to help communities waste less by selling on the items they no longer want or need and they are often particularly successful for children and baby items that are worn less frequently.
Some people are afraid of clowns so strip this down to the balloon artists who can make intricate and fun sculptures on the spot. This could be roaming entertainment or a specific booth!
Keep the community on their toes by having pop-up shops that cater to needs on the fly. A fun idea is an outdoor pizzeria that rolls around once a month to cook stone-baked pizza in the open air. It creates a meeting point and gets everyone chatting!
Have an inaugural event or opening? Don’t skip out on the giant ribbons and scissors, they can be a focal point and draws people to find out more. Giant ribbons are also fun for décor, particularly for raffles or event giveaways and competitions.
Local Services Training
Kids (and adults) love a fire truck or police car up close and you could incorporate fun activities and learning at the same time. Have demonstrations by your local services to raise awareness and create better relationships with communities at the same time.
We all know the importance of giving blood, so invite the blood drive van to your event to park up and offer incentives such as freebies, swag or free food to everyone who donates. If nothing else it will raise awareness so it’s a win-win.
Top the event off with a public firework display and go out with a bang! It’s usually very memorable and offers an immersive experience for attendees to enjoy.
Invite the mayor or local government officials to your event to run a Q&A or panel session so that attendees can build community relationships while also getting vital information they need to keep them informed!
These are extremely beneficial in communities with lower health rates and could include the local nurse or dentist popping along to your event and offering free health or dental checks, taking blood pressure or offering advice. Be aware these are very popular so you may want to invite other professionals too.
Host a sporting event such as a swim or bikeathon (on stationary bikes) that keeps going throughout the day. There could be a distance goal to get to or instant motivation such as powering something electronic with the energy to an immediate result.
Local Business Show
Do something simple by inviting local businesses to an outdoor, informal trade show that allows them to offer free products, interact with the public and make an impression. Add participatory activities as well as entertainment and charge attendees for tickets and business owners for a booth stand.
Want to host a rave but don’t want to upset the neighbors? Host a silent disco where music is playing through attendee headphones which are wireless and adjustable. Take things up a notch by having adjustable channels to choose from for different music genres!
Nothing grabs people’s attention like being surprised. By using the psychology of surprise, you can turn your event into a memorable experience that will have your attendees reminiscing for years to come.
Use innovation to create moments that your attendees will want to share. By giving them something they have never seen before, you’ll be giving them a unique and memorable experience.
If you’re looking for some inspiration to be cutting edge in your events, look no further. We’ve got just what you need right here.
3 Tips to Create an Innovative Event
- Innovate for the Right Reasons
- Never be innovative just for the sake of being innovative. Otherwise, your attempt at innovation could seem gimmicky and disjointed from the focus of the event.
- It is important to keep sight of your true event objectives and think about how you can work differently, and in exciting ways to achieve them.
- Take small steps. Completely revamping an annual event and losing all previous elements of its identity is probably too drastic for your loyal attendees.
- Don’t worry about the competition, just focus on your own priorities.
- Innovate to Strengthen the Brand
Think about your brand or organization. What does it represent? This could spark ideas for how to be innovative around your true values.
- Brainstorm ideas big and small.
- Get your whole team involved in the process and commitment to innovate.
- This approach should shine through in your event communications too.
- Innovate with Technology
Technology is often a great way to be recognized as a truly innovative brand. There are lots of exciting developments in event technology and those that resonate with your audience and help you to understand them better can bring lots of benefits.
- Use the expertise of event technology providers and ask them for innovative solutions to your objectives and challenges.
- If you have a limited budget there are still some free and freemium products available, so don’t discount the use of technology until you have explored the options.
- Check the venue WiFi can hold up to your plans.
If you want your next events to be cutting edge, here are 20 ideas to lead the way.
It is becoming increasingly popular to create an inception event which involves adding one event type into another. This is an example of a festival theme being used for a corporate dinner, recreating the atmosphere but for a classy evening event.
I’ve been quiet on here this week and this is why - I’ve been busy in Leeds working on an event. This is a quick snap I took last night of the festival themed dinner... amazing 😍 . . . . . #eventprofs #events #eventplanner #eventdesign #event #eventplanning #design #eventphotography #inspiration #eventinspiration #eventmanagement #eventstyle #stagedesign #eventdetails #conference #corporateevents #instagood #eventprofsuk #party #eventpros #entertainment #eventstyling #meetingprofs #eventdecor #eventlife #partytime #eventideas #eventmanager #whatkellidoes
Credit: What Kelli Does
Turn small spaces into big opportunities with augmented reality games such as these mazes that look fairly simple but with the aid of virtual reality turns into a challenge and participatory activity. Plus, it’s fun to watch from the outside.
Reali-team Maze Race! The perfect way to kick-off the year. #1upevents @111minnagallery #maze #race #teambuilding #dronegoggles #reversedperspective #trippy #virtualreality #augmentedreality #games #videogames #happyhour #saleskickoff #kickoff #corporateevents #corporateevent #companyfun #treasuremap #treasurehunt #trippy
It may go against the marketing standard but secret events are becoming popular because of their mystery and exclusivity. They create a buzz, purely because there is nothing known about them until the last minute. From secret screenings in abandoned venues to ad hoc keynotes and lost lectures.
Designate Play Zones
Designate areas of your conference specifically for open play at all times to not-so-subtly promote play. Giant nostalgia games like Jenga, Connect Four, and Twister are becoming a staple at large receptions, on trade show floors, and at outdoor events. These oversized games are like beautiful interactive decor that helps people network while they play in a unique way. They can be grouped together in fun ‘zones’ so they don’t disturb the other components of the program.
More independent Play Zones with sheets of adult coloring book pages, kitschy craft stations, video games, or collaborative mural painting are another way to promote playfulness, and can be enjoyed independently or with friends.
Hire A Meeting Learning Coach
A combination of an expert facilitator and MC who in an ideal world also has a background in education and professional speaking. This person will not just give housekeeping notes, introduce speakers, and give out awards – he/she should (like your participants) have an active role in the program. Your coach should help you train your speakers to be more engaging, curate and facilitate your content, and lead your participants in thought-provoking and knowledge-sharing discussions that reiterate your most important objectives for the conference.
Live Product Demos
Use augmented or virtual reality to allow attendees to experience products or services for themselves. This is excellent if you have products that are difficult to test in an event environment and allows a one-on-one opportunity to showcase them where they do best.
Plug straight into your attendees with a silent conference allowing speakers to connect with the audience. Perfect if your venue doesn’t have separate areas so you can have a keynote going on while other elements of your event are undisturbed.
LED robots come in various heights from R2D2 size to something much larger and menacing. Whether you have them jamming to the tunes or simply telling jokes and posing as an intriguing prop for selfies, it’s something your guests will be talking about.
3D Photo Booth
The photo booth is getting a makeover! Capture attendees from all sides with this 3D result and create fun shareables for social media.
All the benefits of a nightclub but alcohol-free and at lunchtime! These interesting mini-events are creating an alternative for corporate attendees to attend mid-week activities and still getting the full benefit!
This is a new dynamic at conferences for brainstorming whereby a center circle of attendees sit and discuss a topic at length, while an outer circle observes! The outer circle can contribute if they have an idea but it’s an interesting way to include introverts and extroverts in planning and activities.
Sustainable Trade Shows
For trade shows or exhibition, the cardboard booth is becoming popular. Not only does it showcase CSR for a brand but they are also quirky, easy to sign and highly adaptable for space and needs. Plus, they are easy to transport yourself to the event.
If you need content for the event highlight reel, a video booth is the perfect way to capture sentiment that attendees can record. It can then be edited together or used as the perfect video testimonial, just let attendees know how you intend to use it.
Speed It Up
Attendees have short attention spans and it is becoming important for events and brands to get the point across quickly. Speed presentations are becoming a favorite format where speakers get a set amount of slides or time to complete their presentation in 5 minutes or less! No more long keynotes and space for a variety of speakers.
Gamify Sponsorship Activations
Showcase your sponsors in fun, playful ways by incorporating interactive ways for them to showcase their product or service. Think giant vending machines to give away swag, fun ball pit chill-out spots, or even CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) give-back stations (think building a bike for kids or making care packages for the needy). Guests passing by your sponsorship areas should feel compelled to get involved and play while they are exposed to your sponsor’s services.
Give Everyone A Voice
Putting the power in the hands of the participants leaves all kinds of room for fun and playful design formats for education. Consider using fun tools like throwable microphones to promote interactive sessions or polling apps to determine which content is presented next. You could also use fun physical props like giant foam fingers and noisemakers for voting or betting on correct answers. Putting more demand for active participation in fun ways will make your participants be more willing to let their voice be heard in a playful way.
Augmented Booth Tours
Provide touchscreens and headphones to give an augmented reality booth tour and add fun elements like in this example which brings the backdrop and booth walls to life. It not only increases time spent at your booth but also saves staff from needing to show visitors around, allowing them to have their own experience and dwell on the parts that they want to, freeing other staff to answer questions and interact elsewhere.
Giant Touch Screens
We are all so used to smartphones and touch screens but these jumbo versions that take more than one attendee to operate are going to wow them and draw them in. Having games and activities on a large scale that encourage others to work together makes them reliant on each other and more invested than the passing visitor, making them commit more and be fully immersed in the task at hand.
Mixed Reality Photo Opps
Give attendees a memorable token to take away from the event in the form of a mixed-reality photo. The options for scenarios are endless and you can seamlessly integrate products, branding, and sponsorship into the end result.
Augmented Reality Thrills
Part of creating an immersive experience is appealing to different emotions, so using augmented reality to add a fear or thrill element takes it up a notch. Using big LED screens and a focal standing point, you can create opportunities to immerse attendees into certain situations. This monster example shows a simulation where attendees have to narrowly avoid oncoming cars. Scaling this down and adding some walls can make this more effective and remove the outside distractions, making it even more Immersive.
Creating connections between attendees is a key objective for many events but getting people to make those connections is often easier said than done.
For events of this type, the onus is on the event planner to make sure the right wheels are greased to make connections and conversations happen. It’s time to think outside the box and create an atmosphere that makes people feel comfortable and promotes engagement.
Once you’ve got the right environment, it’s time to get creative and think about creating opportunities for your guests to connect. We’ve compiled a list of the most effective tips and tricks to get attendees connected at your events. Read on to find out more...
3 Tips to Producing a Networking Focused Event
- Encourage Pre-Event Chatter
Do everything you can to reduce nervousness and ensure that everyone has connected with someone in advance of the event.
- Having active social channels and providing Twitter chats for those attending for the first time will help attendees to feel more relaxed.
- Discussions around a topic or subject area can naturally bring out affinities or interesting debate and better identify who to connect with.
- Encourage those attending for the first time to arrive half an hour earlier to meet others in the same situation.
- Think of Your Audience
Understand that not everyone is confident or comfortable in networking situations. Some attendees need more support and encouragement than others. Whether your attendees and extrovert or introvert, try to maximize the opportunities to make new contacts for everyone attending.
- Introverts will appreciate more structured and facilitated networking, or anything that can aid the connection process. This could include being matched with someone with similar interests and letting both parties know that they should talk.
- Group work can be a discreet way of getting people to chat
- Have dedicated staff looking out for anyone that looks uncomfortable and be ready to strike up a conversation or introduce them to someone new.
- Utilise Eventtech for Better Connections
If you have an event app encourage people to reach out to others with similar interests so they have people to look out for at the event.
- You can set up meetings via some event apps.
- Gamify the networking process by offering points for every person connected with. This can give a fun and gentle nudge to make people more proactive.
- Consider using AI-powered smart matching apps to ease the process and make better matches.
Here are 20 ways to be social at your next event…
As the name suggests, smart badges are a clever technology to improve networking. Fundamentally they use an app and mobile device to help pinpoint people of similar interests or specifically preset people to talk to and notify or light up when close to a match. These wearable devices can help to avoid the awkward “walking up to people” phase and give an immediate reason to strike up a conversation, as well as prioritizing those you specifically want to talk to.
Personalized Name Tags
For a low-cost and easy idea, you can aim to put extra tidbits of information about the attendee on their name tag. When filling out registration forms merely add an extra box that allows attendees to fill in the information and this allows similarly minded guests to find each other at the event as well as starting interesting talking points to break the ice. Some ideas you could try are:
Describe yourself in 3 words
Talk to me about….
Your most interesting quality
How they take their coffee
Place they would most like to visit in the world
Or you could opt to make it a question about the event theme, their job role or event experience (e.g. previous events that they attended)
While it may start making everyone suspicious, they will quickly bond and form relationships using teamwork to guess the murderer! It also creates for perfect conversation post-event, particularly with a murder mystery that is a bit more elaborate.
It’s one thing to tell a story with your event but it’s another to get attendees to share their own. Being open and encouraging storytelling makes deeper connections and memorable networking.
Disable The WiFi
It may sound like a shock and maybe not for the whole event but removing the internet and taking everyone offline can give the perfect opportunity to network and converse “old-school.”
A drinks reception can be used as a transition for attendees if you are using your venue for different purposes and need time to transform it. While this is happening it allows guests to mingle without any restrictions, particularly if you are having a seated dinner.
A lounge is an essential for being event social! They offer an informal, comfortable space that is excellent for networking and offering a place for attendees to congregate and converse. Some events are providing themed lounge areas, such as an English tea party or Eastern inspired bazaar, high in terms of photo-sharing opportunities. Whether it is a quiet space to catch up on work or a place where people can connect with like-minded people, having a dedicated space will be appreciated by attendees.
Turn a lengthy event into productive fun with a hackathon, designathonor any other -athonyou can think of! You can adapt these to your industry and they are more intense than a roundtable or breakaway and everyone focuses on working together to achieve a common goal.
Make presentations more personable with fireside chats which allow an up close conversation that attendees are more likely to learn from. It allows nervous speakers to be more comfortable and therefore engage better with the audience on a personal level, particularly with the questions and answers involved.
Many people find introducing themselves online to be easier than in person. Connecting your participants via social media can help reduce the anxiety of not knowing anyone else at the event. Create a private event group on Facebook or host a Twitter chat to help people to get to know each other.
Alternatively set up a medium where guests can create their own avatar and customize it to suit them and talk to each other in a virtual world. This is a fun way to transition to a real-world situation and create talking points. Virtual reality networking is now possible.
Add a picnic area to your event, it doesn’t have to be outside simply some comfortable blankets or beanbags with floor seating! Picnics transport attendees to summer and socializing so recreate this year-round.
For large long tables, seat swap part way through the event by having one side of the table move down three seats! It encourages everyone to talk and allows plenty of interaction when you don’t have space for round tables. If it is a particularly long event, you could do this multiple times!
Mini Laser Tag
Adding a sporting element gets everyone’s adrenaline pumping which is particularly good for bonding! Mini laser tag could be incorporated into your event without taking up much space, particularly if you combined it with a virtual or augmented reality element.
Chatting while wine tasting is a given and it’s an excellent facilitator of conversation because it offers something else to discuss, so if the chat dries up, the wine won’t.
Create atmospheres that are open to inclusion and discussion by using semi-circles, crescents and U shape table layouts for conferences or breakaways.
Offer Follow-Up Opportunities
Help attendees continue their conversations by offering a way they can follow up, whether this is forms that they can exchange, a list of attendees and companies they came from (make sure you get permission first!) or even a follow-up event or mixer they can attend!
Use Social Media
Of course, you can use social media during an event to encourage attendees to interact. This could be with a competition or live wall where attendees can collaborate together and start a conversation.
Out of Hours
Mix things up and turn an event into an out of hours speakeasy or overnight lock-in! It provides the perfect bonding and socializing opportunity and it’s memorable to be networking overnight!
Have an open area or question that attendees can answer or add to as they are passing through, it encourages collaboration and makes guests stop and think. Using digital whiteboards or touch screens you can record all the comments and get attendees working together to solve issues or brainstorm.
Take dating out of the equation and build relationships quickly with speed networking designed to ignore those awkward moments (who has the time!) Take your business cards, ask about sectors and industries that could be relevant and note who to talk to at the mixer afterwards, it’s an excellent ice breaker and a quick way to find who is important to you.
When it comes to glitz and glamor, event planners need to be able to turn it up to the max. Your clients want their special event to be spectacular, delivering a unique experience that will leave guests speechless. That’s a lot to ask…
Whether it’s a gala, concert or high-profile award ceremony, it pays to come to the table with a broad range of milestone event ideas that can be used together to create a completely unique experience for those most special occasions.
How To Make Your Event Extra Special
To make an event really extra special you need to think about every single touchpoint of the attendee journey.
- If the event journey can start by providing transport and accommodation to the guest too this can elevate the VIP feeling.
- Add personalized gifts in the hotel room or offer beverages as part of the transfer.
- Capture a picture of every guest on the red carpet and share it with them as a momento after the event.
Strong Theme Throughout
If you have a theme it needs to flow and be noticed by attendees throughout the whole event experience.
- Ensure the invitation hints at the theme, so guests have an idea what is in store.
- The little touches can be really captivating.
- Avoid cliche and overused themes and be original.
The Element of Surprise
Don’t give away everything before the event, keep some details to yourself. The element of surprise will have guests talking about it for long after the event.
- Forget traditions and ceremony and mix everything up. Change the program, timings, way that food and drink are served.
- Use the human element and have specific surprises for guests, to instance to reward and recognize their achievements or hard work.
- Rehearse surprises from the stage with the tech team, host and all key staff to ensure timing is impeccable.
We’ve pulled together some of our favorite ideas for bringing glamour, excitement and a touch of class to special events. Never run out of ideas again; add these tips to your special events arsenal now.
Go out with a bang and have confetti cannons over the audience attached to the stage for a finale or to signal the end of the night at a New Year Event. You could exchange these for handheld options and have roaming entertainment let them off at intervals during a special event.
It’s important to get gifts that attendees will remember and cherish, particularly for special or memorialized events and the perfect way to do this is with personalization. This could be an engraving of an employee’s name or nickname as well as something that suits their personality and represents them. They are much more likely to keep and look after it if it is meaningful.
Waiting for something big to happen? Whether it’s the New Year, a new contract or simply the end of tax season for some, incorporate a countdown clock to build suspense! For larger events, you could upscale this to a digital wall projection of the countdown for all to see.
Invite Past and Present
Long-standing employees or figures as part of a company's history should be invited to celebrate milestones and this would make them realize they are not forgotten about. For corporate events invite retired employees who served longer than 10 years at the company to celebrate their contributions as well as those who are working now. It’s also excellent networking practice for employees of all ages to mingle.
For smaller corporate events have seated service with a gourmet chef who is able to make a menu catered to your company as well as your guest’s preferences. Everyone wants their favorite food so give it to them with a gourmet twist!
You may be thinking high school prom but the balloon drop can be adapted for the corporate crowd too! Add balloons of your branding colors in keeping with themes and offer an interesting sponsorship opportunity by having them branded too.
VIP Chauffeur Service
Treat VIPs or important corporate guests to their own chauffeur service to and from your event. It gives them greater flexibility with drinking and avoids having to park, plus being driven somewhere and taken home is a luxurious feeling and avoid much forethought. You could offer a chauffeur service as part of a VIP package too and pick up groups for other special events
Company Achievement Awards
Reward your employees by offering annual awards that keep on giving! The awards could come with prizes such as a trip away, experience or simply exclusive perks at the office (think prime usage of the best parking spot). Rewarding your employees gives them something to strive towards and motivates them year round.
Commission artwork or have a mural created in honor of your event. It could contain your branding and what makes your business special or stand out as well as key features that define you. It could also depict a significant time for your company e.g an anniversary.
Signage Table Confetti
Make the finer details matter by adding customized table confetti in your tablescaping. Colored confetti that is the name of your brand or a quote is a personal touch that will go down a treat for seated meals.
Use videos to your advantage as entertainment and for sentimental value. This could include making a company history to showcase or interviewing attendees before the event to compile a video they see on digital screens that will be playing throughout the night.
Always wanted a celebrity, influencer or industry-specific spokesperson to attend your event? Now is the time to splash out and get them, it’s a special event and you want to make a huge impact to really mark the occasion!
Free drinks for everyone! An open bar stops attendees having to worry about money and drinks and focusing on the event itself. If you don’t have the budget you could either put a set amount behind the bar or give out free custom cocktails instead.
Look To The Future
Normally special events will be looking to the past to see how things got to where they are and while this is important, use it as a chance to show how much potential you have too. Set goals and unveil milestones or new projects on the way to inspire attendees that there is plenty to look forward to.
Create An Event Time Capsule
Give yourselves something to look forward to for your next milestone and make history at the event by creating a time capsule. Invite attendees to bring a personal item to include or simply have the capsule on display with what will be included which can also have memorabilia from the evening. Just be sure to get permission when using names or personal information in the capsule.
In commemoration of the event, change your branding colors or create a special logo that will be used for the year of your anniversary. This can highlight progress and spark interest in customers and employees who would welcome a way to spice things up.
Use seating to make attendees comfortable and give them a unique experience. This could be playful swings, seats with charging ports or massage chairs for relaxation, anything that shows you care!
It might seem small but in the digital age with everyone receiving e-vites and an emphasis on technology, fancy paper invites with a wax seal on thick paper with calligraphy can show you mean business.
Offer custom rewards for particularly loyal attendees, whether this is a personalized gift for longstanding employees or discounts for guests that attend annual events frequently. Loyalty rewards breed appreciation and recommendation, keeping everyone happy.
Pick a venue that defines how big the occasion is to leave a lasting impression on your guests. This doesn’t have to be a big historical venue but could also include something like visiting a famous race track and having dinner overlooking the cars or hiring a museum where the exhibits and private tours are on offer.
Making a corporate environment fun and engaging can be difficult when you also have to consider keeping a professional image at all times. The pressure is on to raise intrigue among attendees, whilst staying totally on brand.
If corporate events are your game, we have some essential reading for you in this post: Advanced Corporate Event Planning Guide: 100 Ideas, Checklists and Tips to Plan Successful Events.
In the meantime, if you’re looking for ideas and inspiration, we’re here to help with some of the most effective corporate event ideas we’ve seen to date. You never know, one of these ideas might just be the one that turns your corporate event into the event of the year!
Here are 20 corporate event ideas for you to steal.
Capture the ambiance and atmosphere of the event using the increasingly popular 360 video and photography which can be used during a live stream to make virtual attendees wish they were there and feel like they are! Integrating 360 video seamlessly can be difficult but also paves the way for augmented reality at your event too.
A funky guerrilla marketing tactic for corporate events is to create pop-up ideas that spark intrigue and excitement. Build on this by making them roam and moveable. You could do this across the country or even in the office with different elements popping up in different departments each day. They create surprise and buzz about where it could be found next and helps with immediate brand recognition.
The #loveplano ❤️ has made its way to Plano Event Center! Be sure to stop for a 📷 at @jlccntw #neaththewreath this week and tag your photos #loveplano for a chance to win a $50 VISA gift card to give to someone in need or to your favorite charity. ‘Tis the season for giving, y’all! . . #visitplano #planotexas #plano #planoeventcenter #venue #corporateevents #eventprofs
Unique Staff Uniforms
Staff are just as important to the aesthetic so ensuring they are incorporated into themes and color schemes is important. Mix it up by having intricate uniforms, such as these pajamas at the annual meta mixer in line with their sweet dreams theme.
Credit: Destinations by Design, Four Seasons Hotel Las Vegas (catering)
Bespoke Mini Boards
Create a quirky set menu with this lavish presentation so guests have their own boards. These include ham hock terrine, beetroot crisps and pickles in a beautiful display served with silverware.
Credit: Bespoke Awb
Corporate events need excellent styling and while this theme is a Gatsby one, it remains classy and sophisticated. Drawing on the black and cold, a trailing balloon ceiling that spread outwards added a level of intimacy to the event. Balloons are an important décor trend for 2018 and are multi-functional too, so don’t count them out.
Flashback to Saturday's big event which was absolutely stunning! And...What a day it was! It took a lot of planning but we pulled off this fabulous black and gold Gatsby inspired event! Check out the bar with this impressive balloon installation! Thanks again to @balloons.com.au and designed by @clairelenam @loutir #checkitout #gatsbytheme #blackandgold #eventstyling #eventdesign #balloons #gatsby #sydneybar #sydneyprops #sydneylife #theme #themedevent #theming #trending #chic #artnouveau #artdeco #balloonart
A classic, but still incredibly effective, particularly if you get the right food choice and make it shine! These are the perfect example of dessert branding done right with these sophisticatedly stylish treats. The more appetizing, the more they will be photographed and shared, improving the sponsor’s reach.
It wouldn’t be an opening reception without cake! #fermaforum - - - #fermarisk #ferma #montecarlo #monaco #grimaldiforum #exhibitions #conference #standbuild #standbuilders #exhibitionstand #exhibitionstandconstruction #exhibitionstanddesign #fermaforum2017 #ferma2017 #marketingagency #agencylife #branding
Credit: Brand Formula
Digital mapping at this gala showcases different images and projects them, which creates an interactive and engaging way to bring to attendees. The images themselves can be automated and moving and in some cases, integrated with the ability to interact with attendees when they are near for some thrilling fun and wow factor.
Buffets and canapes tend to remove some catering options because, logistically, you can’t serve difficult foods or those needing utensils without plates. Canape spoons are the latest things to make this possible and open up a realm of possibilities for your menu.
Balloons are often a go-to décor piece for corporate events and can be very effective as they are usually used for centerpieces, welcome décor or standing décor attached to weights. Helium balloons are the favorite for standalone décor and pack more of a punch than traditional balloons.
Be big kids at the event with Scalextric races and gamification. You could create an incentivized leaderboard or tournament lasting throughout the event with prizes for the winners. Even without the incentives, you’ll find it is quite popular and unique.
Converting corporate spaces can be difficult but this penthouse creation is stunning. With a marble bar and lounge area for networking and comfort, as well as seated dinner and candle-lit walkways it’s definitely transformative.
You can offer branded swag before the event, as an early bird incentive, giveaway or to bring to the event. This gives attendees the opportunity to show it off and encourage others to look into registering or signing up before the event. Alternatively, give swag at the registration desk and entrance or in goody bags on the way out.
Plenty of branding opportunities and perfect for large event transportation or pre-event build-up. Segways are still interesting and a novelty for many, even though they were released years ago. You could make them available to rent from your booth at trade shows, giving you excellent reach as they make an impact, or ride them in public to market your event.
Food is normally the next point of call after a long or out of hours meeting, so take away the worry and send them home with dinner and dessert. These combination boxes have a variety of amazing food and can be adapted to suit your attendee preferences.
From tables, chairs and food stations to cushions, marques and shelving, branding can be used on a variety of furniture surfaces which is why lounges are such a good idea.
Gesture Control Presentations
Increasing technology now means we can avoid the awkward clickers and weird pointing to the presentation control for a seamless speech or presentation. These gesture control armbands allow those on stage to motion when it is time to move on which can be integrated into the presentation for better delivery.
Go all the way with food and remove the buffet entirely. Opt for a private chef who can create tailored meals to suit the vibe, dietary preferences and what you ask for. The food is fresh, you can see it being made and you know it will be customized and hot!
An excellent way to make a larger venue feel more intimate is with lighting or similar effects and these simple but effective GOBO’s create a speckled effect that enhances the natural features of this venue.
It’s amazing sometimes as to what simple uplighting and gobo patterns can do to this amazing room . . . . . . #weddings #uplighting #gobo #distraction #weddinglighting #wedding #lightdesign #lighting #purple #purplelights #chicago #adlerplanetarium #beautiful #fancy #creatingravingfans #gorgeous #welovewhatwedo #teamwork #teamworkmakesthedreamwork #luxeproductions #luxeproevents
Credit: Luxe Productions
Overnight Stay/Accommodation Paid
For retreats, workshops or events that last several days, you could offer free accommodation as part of a giveaway package before or during the event. Before the event would offer more flexibility and allow you better rates to negotiate a hotel package beforehand but even during the event you could offer to cover accommodation costs for the event. Alternatively, you could simply offer an unrelated overnight stay in a luxury hotel that has other amenities such as a spa or fitness center as a mini-break.
Segmented Escape Rooms
Escape rooms are growing in popularity as a team building exercise but you can now create your own so attendees don’t have to travel. Using cleverly thought out planning, draping partitions, lighting and plenty of themed décor you can create an immersive experience at the same venue as other team building exercises for a fraction of the cost.
Whatever type of event project you are working on, we hope you have found inspiration with these 200 ideas, covering 10 different types of events.
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