One of the reasons we might believe that events are more efficient than online communication or advertising is the live experience factor. After all, people will jump from your message to a funny video in no time, forgetting about your content altogether, while during an event, they’ll have an immersive experience with your brand.
This is true to an extent, because distraction and FOMO are definitely ruling the attendee experience at events. Whether it’s to share their thoughts or photos from the event or just simply scroll through their social media feed because they’re bored, attendees get distracted at events.
This creates a rather incongruent experience (an event experience you worked relentlessly for days and nights trying to put together), keeping your guests from being fully present. These circumstances might reduce the impact of the messages your event will convey, as well as the memorability factor of the event.
Is there anything you can do, considering that you can’t simply prohibit the use of phones or laptops at your event (come on, we aren’t in high school)?
To answer this question, we’ve put together a list of preventative measures you can take to minimize distractions during your event:
Block the Wi-Fi in the conference room
Yes, it’s a quite bold move, and sometimes it can’t be done, especially if your guests are using your event mobile app. However, in some cases, this measurement can be welcoming.
By blocking the Wi-Fi in the conference room, you’ll help your guests prioritize their goals and actually focus on what the keynote speakers are saying. They’ll be less tempted to go through their phones, and their attention will be redirected on what’s happening in the moment.
But couldn’t they still just use their phones via their data? Well, you can also cut the mobile data signal in the room, but sometimes it’s enough to just take away the Wi-Fi to make a statement. However, don’t forget to activate Wi-Fi in the lounge areas.
Start your event with a quick introduction to deep focus
Three minutes. This is all that it might take to get your attendees’ attention and keep them off their gadgets. Ask your moderator to start the session with a quick note about the benefits of actually being in the moment and connecting with what the speakers have to say. This small yet effective speech will make your guests acknowledge the importance of focusing on the event and hopefully decrease the distraction levels.
Reduce the use of an event mobile app
In most cases, an event mobile app is indispensable. However, whenever your guests use the app, they’ll probably feel tempted to quickly hop over to their Facebook or Instagram accounts and check all the notifications they’ve received or their friends’ latest posts.
So if possible, put some thought into the specific moments you’ll ask your guests to use the app. For example, you could run a live poll via your event mobile app at the end of the knowledge session after the speakers’ speeches. Even if your attendees get a bit distracted, they’ve already paid the necessary attention to the session.
Create 100% immersive experiences
How many people do you think will be on their phones if the speakers are really good and entertaining? Not many.
The same is true for group activities and games. To reduce your attendees’ distraction levels, provide them with immersive activities, interesting speakers, and awe-inducing experiences. This will not only grab their attention, but also keep them captivated the entire time.
Keep the dynamic pace of the event activities
Don’t make your event boring. It’s that simple. The more boring the event, the more likely your attendees will redirect their attention to their gadgets. To keep this from happening, make your event truly dynamic.
Reduce the speakers’ keynotes to 20 minutes each. Give your guests plenty of breaks and entraining activities, change the rhythm of the activities, and make sure they have a dynamic experience. This way, they won’t have time (or feel tempted) to check their phones.
If your attendees want to check their phones or laptops, they’ll do it. Nothing can keep them from getting busy except an interesting and engaging event experience. The best thing you can do is focus on designing a truly memorable experience people will love. Do everything you can to keep your attendees connected to the present moment and focused on what’s happening around them.