When employees hear that it’s time for a company’s annual meeting or event, the goal is that they will be filled with anticipation rather than a sense of obligation to attend. Including interactive features in corporate functions can not only provides an amusing way to engage the audience but can also double as a method of capturing data and employee or customer feedback.
From sharing opinions and stories to weaving a visual tale, interactive features get guests moving, talking, and thinking about the future in an accessible and supportive manner. Event better, interaction allows guests to feel as though they have a stake in making a great event.
With tailored Ideation Towers, hosts offer attendees a place to share their thoughts about the event, the brand, or even just a favorite quote or personal philosophy. It’s like being asked to write on the board at school or leaving a message on the bathroom wall without concern of reprisal. This type of "permitted graffiti" is a thrill for members of the multiple generations who might attend a large corporate gathering. Whether writing in dry erase marker, chalk, or something more permanent, guests will be excited to share their ideas.
Create pegboard Ideation Towers that act as decor pieces and offer a place for attendees to communicate their thoughts on whiteboards or with sticky notes. Ask a question to get the creativity flowing, or simply provide a title and leave the tablet blank. The result is a casual setup that sparks imagination and provides insight into the ethos of your guests.
To achieve more formal results, you can use the towers to survey the crowd by asking specific questions and include ways to respond. This will still provide interaction but can be custom-designed to obtain the desired information.
Have you considered asking your guests to create the event’s decor? "String Art" calls on attendees to develop a collaborative artistic endeavor. It can also allow you to gain feedback.
Custom-build a temporary wall filled with terms that relate to your industry, your employees, or information you would like to gather, and add a peg or nail to each term. With giant spools of colored fibers or string, allow guests to connect words that apply to them. A wall containing place names could signify corporate locations, and attendees would connect their string to each place visited or worked. Or the terms could be adjectives and the “artist” would connect her string to each adjective she feels signifies the host company.
The final string art project is a colorful visual roadmap of your attendees’ ideas and beliefs.
In any corporate event, logo placement is key. Why not let your guests enjoy a sweet treat while simultaneously adding branding to your event? Use miniature cupcakes or cakes to fashion the company logo. No one will resist taking part, and the company logo will be permanently associated with an enjoyable moment.
Everyone has a story to tell. Whether it’s about the first day working with the company or the memory of a favorite client, the tales that your attendees recall and share about your company highlight what they deem important.
Set up a recording studio at your event, and let your guests take the mike. This “StoryCorps”-style production can be augmented with a listening wall with headphones. Not only will you have a record of what people are saying about your company, the studio offers an immediate opportunity for guests to share their stories with each other. Of course, singing is always permitted, too.
When trying to connect attendees in one location with the widespread, perhaps even global, work of your organization, virtual reality offers a way to provide a “tour” of your world.
For guests at an event for a company with warehouses or showrooms scattered in many locations, a VR experience creates a window to facility tours, employee interviews, and product demonstrations. With VR technology, almost any subject matter can be easily experienced by all event attendees. And with a built-in game component, the VR experience can please your millennial guests, too!
The highlight of all of these ideas is that they are simple enough for anyone to participate in. It’s not necessary to be a philosopher or great artist to contribute to an ideation wall or a string art piece. Yet the result of guests working together throughout an event to create something unique is exciting to see. Add some hands-on activities to your next corporate event and watch attendee engagement skyrocket.
Designer, planner, consultant, and founder of WM Events, William Fogler believes that experience is everything, and if you’re going to make a real splash, you’d better be ready to commit your heart and soul. Launched in 2004, WM Events is a full service event planning and design firm that handles corporate events, high-end social affairs, weddings, and any other sort of intimate or monumental happening. A native of Denver, William has been making his punctuation mark on the events industry for nearly two decades and brings a West Coast style and sensibility to his adopted city of Atlanta.