During a conference, the ideal is to have all eyes on the speaker and to have the participants be fully involved in the event. However, that is often far from the reality. You would count yourself lucky if you even manage to capture half of their attention. What’s more, a MICE event often involves hundreds of participants, making it difficult to connect with every member in the audience. It might seem unimaginable to engage hundreds of participants at a go. No worries, we are here to help.
1. Make Your Presentation a Two-Way Street
Before engaging the audience, there is a need to first capture their attention. The average attention span is limited to a range of five to seven minutes. This makes long conferences and meetings tedious for the audience to pay attention and retain information.
One way to resolve this issue is to give participants electronic devices to keep them constantly involved in the proceedings. The devices help to prevent the usual problems of participants losing interest halfway during the meeting. You can even go further to get them to download an event app so that they can download the contents and use it to keep track of the meeting.
2. Keep Them Informed of the Agenda
Just the act of setting an agenda alone is able to increase meeting productivity. On top of that, your participants’ involvement rate goes up when they are informed of the agenda. This can be done by making the agenda easily accessible or by having the next item on the schedule pop up on the screens of their devices. With the programme in mind, the participants would be more aware of what is happening and this also makes them anticipate the next item on the schedule. By keeping them on their toes, they become more alert and receptive to the event on-goings.
3. Know Your Audience
What topics are they interested in? Are they more interested in the current affairs or the industry news? Do a pre-event survey or a background research before the event to know what they are interested in listening to. When you talk about topics that they are concerned about, you stand a better chance of getting their attention. While the responses may be varied, it is easier to gain the majority’s attention when you target the popular topics.
4. Be Interesting
Sounds like a no-brainer, right? But this is actually a lot more difficult than it sounds. Meetings and conferences are, unfortunately, deep in the boring zone. While there is a whole trove of workshops and how-tos to make your meeting more interesting, there are two key areas that might just pull your meeting out from the boring clutter.
Interactive Presentation Slides
The contents of the presentation is one of the main highlights of the conference—even, perhaps, their greatest takeaway. There is a need to ensure that the presentation slide are stimulating and easy to read. Intermittent videos, images and thought-provoking questions have been found to be one of the best ways to vary the presentation tempo and capture the audience’s attention.
Even the most well-done presentation slides can cause the presentation to flop if the public speaking skills are not on par. Encourage your speakers to rehearse in the event venue before the event so that the speaker can take in the vibes of the room and also look out for areas of the room that the participants might be neglected. Getting an audience’s attention via speaking is not an easy task. An audience’s energy levels ebb and flow, making it difficult to ensure that their energy levels are always up. A good speaker is able to notice these fluctuations and can go a long way towards capturing and retaining their attention.
5. Live Q&A and Polling
Make your meeting go live with an event app and use it to engage your participants in the Q&A segment. The event app should be able to screen questions from the participants and provide a real-time response from the speakers. Knowing that their questions will be answered immediately makes the audience more interested in listening and participating during the Q&A.