There's no shortage of reasons to plan and run events. Some may want to increase their revenues by selling tickets or raise brand awareness. Others may be interested in growing a community or providing a meaningful networking environment. At first look, all these reasons have nothing in common, apart from the means through which they are accomplished: by running events. However, if you looked closer, one core leitmotif runs through all these goals.
Whether you want to make people pay to attend your event or transform them from attendees into clients, your main goal is to reshape the way they behave. Only by doing so will you actually be able to obtain a positive ROI. If you can't persuade people to behave differently and take action (through buying tickets, networking with the event sponsors, etc.), then your event will have zero impact.
Obviously, depending on the type of the event and your goals, there are many ways to reshape an attendee's behavior. However, before applying your concrete strategies, such as using gamification to increase your guests’ social media activity, you may want to get prepared. Here are a few tips to take into consideration if you want to reshape your attendees' behavior more easily:
Tip 1. Allocate a few minutes for awareness before the event session
Yes, people came to your event to listen to the speakers and participate during the Q&A session. Yet, things will steal their attention, such as social media notifications, unexpected emails, and the constant buzz of the smartphone, all of which can sabotage your intention to transmit a specific message.
That’s why, before each event, think about ways in which you could determine your attendees to be aware about what's coming next. Your moderator can help you out by initiating the session with a short meditation or some breathing exercises. This will encourage your guests to refocus and channel all of their attention on what’s happening on the stage or on the room. This simple, yet necessary exercise will facilitate a first interaction based on trust between your attendees and your moderator, subsequently facilitating the behavioral change.
Tip 2. Practice active listening before and during the event
If you want to influence attendees during your event, you must build a relationship with them. You can do this by actively listening to their problems and asking questions (via forms, live polls, or social media posts). Show them that their challenges matter to you and that your event offers space for listening and self-expression.
Tip 3. Create a humane environment for your attendees
If you want to reshape your attendees’ behavior, you can't forget to provide personalized assistance if needed. Don’t make your guests feel alone and unaccompanied during the event. Gain and build their trust by setting up a friendly environment and assisting them through the process. The bigger the event, the more difficult it is to create a human environment where everyone feels like one big family. However, if you want to instill trust and comfort, you must make both yourself and your team (or volunteers) approachable. Attendees must know that they can count on the organization team for the small (or big) issues and challenges they may encounter before or during the event.
Tip 4. Pack your event with actionable knowledge
The thing that will convince your attendees to change their behavior and take action following your guidance is your competence level. You can’t be perceived as competent if you don’t create an event that provides useful and actionable information. Plan a truly useful experience for your guests. Give them access to the knowledge that will change their professional or personal lives. Only then, ask for something in return, implying a change in their behavior.
Tip 5. Powerful calls to action during the event
Do you think attendees know what is expected from them? Of course not. They can't read minds. On the contrary, they have their own reasons to attend your event. That's why they need gentle guidance from you. Make sure to clearly communicate what actions attendees should take. Whether it's buying a product and receiving a discount or commenting on your Facebook page for a reward, introduce easy-to-execute calls to action for your event guests.
To reshape attendees' behavior, you must earn their trust first. You can do that by establishing an active interaction based on communication, showing your expertise, and delivering powerful calls to action during the event. Apart from that, you can strengthen the connection with your event guests by providing them with a friendly environment and honestly listening to their issues and challenges. By doing so, you'll instill confidence, ease in your interaction with the audience, and increase your chances to reshape their behavior.