How to ramp up the engagement effect

participateThe last time you went to a conference or other such event, what was the engagement like?

Were there lots of questions? Did people in the audience offer to share what they thought on a given topic or issue?

How engaging was it all?

There are many dynamics at play regarding what will make an event engaging – the speaker(s), the host and/or moderator as applicable, the event itself, the venue, whether the wifi works well and, last but certainly not least, overall content and specifically that of a given speaker.

I’d add another one – everyone’s commitment to participate.

If you’re an event host, why not try something a bit different at your event? Ask everyone  – speakers included – to take the participation pledge, something I experienced for the first time as the #TAGtribe event at Waggener Edstrom London last week, when moderator Andy Bargery asked everyone present to take that pledge:

I do solemnly swear,
to get involved,
not to sit on my hands,
to ask questions,
and to participate.

Listen to Andy’s call in the FIR Speakers & Speeches podcast of the event – he starts at about 2 minutes 45 seconds into the recording.

If you do it right, including injecting a little humour into your request, it can be powerful. Along with all the other elements I mentioned earlier, I think it had an effect on our event last week, reflected not only in the actual participation that happened but also in what people said about it, as you can see in Andy’s Storify curation at the end of this post.

Of course, our event last week was small, about 50 people, not a huge conference with hundreds.

Don’t let scale stop you, though. Think of the engagement effect your call to action can have, whether it’s a big public conference or a small internal workshop.

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Neville Hobson

Social Strategist, Communicator, Writer, and Podcaster with a curiosity for tech and how people use it. Believer in an Internet for everyone. Early adopter (and leaver) and experimenter with social media. Occasional test pilot of shiny new objects. Avid tea drinker.

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