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At Aberfield, everything we do is focused on the audience – and this doesn’t just apply to PR campaigns, it’s for events too.

Posted on Tue 16th Jan, 2018 in: Advice, Events, Planning by Chloe Matthbury

Once you are clear about who exactly your target audience is, it’s time to apply that insight and create an engaging event. We’ve pulled together our top tips to help you put your audience first.

Choose your speakers carefully

We’re constantly connected to our phones and devices, doing five things at once, and it’s made us a much tougher audience to keep interested. For the events industry, this means organisers have to work extremely hard to create an event that keeps attendees’ attention.

Organisers have to be aware of the importance of their choice of speaker, the subsequent impact on the success of the event as well as on their attendees’ energy and concentration levels.

Here are some tips on how to choose the best speaker and how to get them to achieve the best outcomes for your audience:

  • A speaker doesn’t have to be well-known to be good. Choose someone that your audience will identify with, a person that they admire or an expert in their field.
  • Ask them to outline the purpose of the day and tell delegates what they’re going to learn. Each time a new speaker starts, ask them to identify which objective they’ll address and where this sits in the delegates’ programme.
  • Equally important, make sure your closing speaker pulls together what skills/knowledge/experience attendees have gained during the event. Remind them what they set out to do, and how they’ve achieved this.

Spice it up

The post-lunchtime activity, also known as the graveyard shift of events, is usually a vaguely acknowledged occurrence witnessed by a sleepy, carb-loaded audience.

To keep your delegates engaged, let them have fun! If your delegates are enjoying themselves, they’ll learn more and are more likely to deem the event a success.

Some fun yet simple activities that you could incorporate into your next event:

  • Boomwhackers are a personal favourite of ours, they’re fun and easy to follow, and we’ve never had a group not enjoy it. Incorporating an activity like this energises the room and doubles as a teambuilding exercise, too. If boomwhackers aren’t for you, include a surprise performance, a 15-minute chair yoga class or simply ask everyone to get up and change seats with someone on the opposite side of the room.
  • Cabaret conversations! If you’re using a cabaret set-up, use a break to pop some quick conversation cards on the tables with a couple of different categories, e.g. pop culture, general knowledge or a test of the event content. Ask each table to nominate a question master who uses the cards to prompt conversations – a great added networking activity too.
  • A quiz! Get the room competing with remote voting and test their knowledge by recapping the section just completed. To increase the drama, add some suspense music and offer a prize to the winner.


Turn that networking frown upside down

There aren’t many event attendees that would say they love networking, so shift your attendees’ focus, encourage them to get creative and the conversation will flow.

Here are our top tips on creating a networking buzz:  

  • Use a blank space (white board, canvases etc) for delegates to share their messages about the day, unique offers available to conference attendees as well as a place to pin their business card.
  • Leave a blank space on their name badge for them to draw their industry or job role, or even ask them to draw their favourite animal or holiday destination – this gets people talking as they draw and guess what each other’s artwork represents. If you don’t feel drawing is right for your audience’s badges, feature prompt questions either around work or personal life instead.

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