Event Essentials – 5 Provisions To Help Keep Attendees Focused

There is always a swirl of excitement that precedes an event felt by organisers and attendees alike. Your event, whatever the occasion, brings a number of likeminded people under the same roof or sky, ready to learn and connect. The one thing that is often overlooked is the level of engagement your attendees will have, and how you can keep their attention focused without changing too much of the event itinerary. Having supported many events in our time with our coffee machines in Brisbane and perfect roasts, we’ve pulled together the 5 essential provisions you need. 

1. The Right Refreshments 

The refreshments are not the driving force behind event attendance, but it certainly helps in winning them over when they’re there. The time of day and the event format will largely dictate what your refreshments look like, and your attendees will expect a little more if this is a long event or one that is starting early. When designing a bespoke menu, think to include items that will provide some energy to keep them focused for the remainder of the event. Coffee is an essential ingredient here and will suit a casual or cocktail event style, right through to a sit-down lecture or conference. It’s also going to be asked for at all hours, so hiring a coffee machine might be your saviour. If you’re wary of the potential for unattentive attendees, avoid comfort foods and soups – this can have a sedative effect and might translate to weary attendees and subsequently poor engagement.

2. Mixed Mediums

Unfocused attendees are not always a result of a boring event, lineup or content being delivered – far from it. In 2020, we have unconsciously been conditioned to expect a number of mediums to reach us, and this has crept into how we learn and engage professionally. If your event includes single, albeit moving, speakers without any accompanying presentations or clips – you may want to consider incorporating some. It’s no coincidence that HR managers email in colourful fonts and email marketing is littered with GIF’s – engagement is the goal here and without using some different mediums you might lose your attendees to a daydream. Who knows, it might actually provider a perfect bridge to explaining a complex concept.

3. Save the Best to Last

Now, this is event 101, as you don’t want your attendees to reach peak engagement in the first half-hour and then trail off, either mentally or physically. Save your best provisions until last, or at different intervals throughout the event. This might take the shape of a key speaker, a prize giveaway, cocktail hour and even an announcement. Put some serious through into the itinerary design, and always be putting yourself into the shoes of your attendees and think about what they want to see and hear and in what order to be most enjoyable. If you are looking to re-purpose the coffee machine you have for the event, why not treat your attendees to some espresso martinis?

4. Energising venues

There are some places where it is simply impossible to elicit an unengaged response, especially with the innovative event venues that we are seeing become mainstream. Previously event organisers were at the mercy of hotels convention centres only, and while they are sound venues, you might find better inspiration in a unique setting that will energise your attendees. Think outdoors, warehouse-style, trendy cafes and bars, and even co-working spaces that allow for freedom of movement and interesting infrasture. You might even find that the venue itself will be a drawcard for attendees, so don’t just go with the same option you have been using year in and year out.

5. Engage the audience

Your content is enough to entertain your attendees, but if you want them sitting on the edge of their seat there are other things you can do. Apps like ‘Kahoot!’ allow guests to interact with the speaker or facilitator, making your event an interactive experience. Why not take a pause every half hour or so and ask the audience a question based on the content, and let them answer on their phone using these apps? The technology measures the speed and accuracy of each user and presents a central tally board where you can find out who of the attendees and peers are paying the most attention. Before you bring this concept to your event, trial the functionality with your internal team first.

Here are just 5 provisions that you can incorporate to keep your attendees focused and loving the event. Remember that they are attending of their own volition so don’t put too much pressure on yourself to radicalise the event, as they have actively taken the time to seek you event and are attending for you and your content.

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