Event Management

Connection, Entertainment and Choice Are Key Ingredients for Audience Engagement

Skift Take

The third in our four-part series of recordings from the Event Innovation Lab™ at IMEX America features expert insights on the elusive art of engagement. Explore different views on how we can deliver meaningful experiences that move people while engaging multiple audiences via different channels.


Freedom of Choice: The Ultimate Engagement Hack

“You don’t choose to be event planners because you like technology, you choose to do this because you like people and connecting. But your job is to connect people regardless of the medium”, said Julius Solaris, VP of Marketing Strategy, Events at Hopin (and founder of EventMB). He was keen to address the challenges of having meaningful engagement with attendees at virtual or hybrid events, and planners’ reluctance to embrace new technologies.

The events industry needs technology now in ways it did not before the pandemic, even for live events, said Solaris, and that is a “mind shift.” Data collection, he added, is key to learning how to best communicate to an audience.

The euphoria people might now feel now around the return of live events could eventually become event-fatigue, he said, potentially opening a new and better space for virtual events to replace others that do not need to happen in person.


The Five Rules to Engagement

Haute Senior Experience Designer Thuy Diep led by example by engaging the onsite audience while leading a session on engagement. She now only made a good case for her five rules of engagement, she actively demonstrated how they can work in practice.

Her five rules of engagement are:

1. Forgetting formulas

2. Using entertainment to educate

3. Engaging attendees before, during and after with meaningful communication

4. Meeting attendees where they are, both from a content standpoint and a logistics standpoint

5. Embracing experimentation


The Value of Engagement: Best Practices for Engaging Hybrid Audiences

MeetingPlay Co-founder and CEO Joe Schwinger acknowledged that engaging hybrid audiences has proven to be a significant challenge for event planners, yet shared case studies that illustrated strategies that were successful. He highlighted the many advantages of virtual attendance, particularly for introverts or anyone who prefers to participate virtually.

Schwinger challenged the idea that virtual event audiences are not engaged. “We have an outdated version of what engagement is. We keep chasing it like it’s the holy grail, but it means different things to different people.”

Schwinger believes the solution is to give audiences choice and let them find what works best for them. He urged planners to take lessons learned over the course of the pandemic and apply those to future hybrid events. “You went from being Blockbuster to being Netflix in 18 months, don’t go back to being Blockbuster again.”

Explore the other posts of our four-part series of recordings from the Event Innovation Lab™ at IMEX America.

1. Part 1: The Formula for Making Hybrid Events a Success

2. Part 2: Going Above and Beyond to Design Inclusive Experiential Events

3. Part 4: Soon to be released