If you believe that your biggest challenge, as a planner, is to overcome multiple logistic tasks and run flawless events, then you are wrong. There’s no way you’ll attract more guests or make them talk about your event by providing average settings, content, or activities.
With so many options and gatherings to attend, nowadays attendees are searching for meaningful and transformative experiences that will gratify their need for novelty.
If you want to stand out from the crowd and run events that will attract, transform, and delight your attendees, you’ll have to create unique experiences.
Think about Burning Man.
Do you believe there’s any other event out there that gathers such a big number of famous entrepreneurs, entertainment figures, and innovators in the middle of nowhere like Burning Man does?
Its organizers know how to create unique experiences and deliver an incredible number of new impressions. That is what explains its eccentricity and popularity. The good thing is that you don’t have to plan an event in the middle of Nevada’s desert to achieve the same success as Burning Man.
Here’s how you can create unique experiences for your attendees without leaving the venue:
Step #1. Design a deeply immersive activity for your attendees
With so many distractions (checking email, scrolling through Twitter newsfeeds, etc.), it’s almost impossible to ask your guests to be 100% focused on what’s happening during the event.
As researcher Graham Berridge specifies, “Successfully creating, for example, immersive event experiences, artificial or not, should provide intrinsically satisfying engagements that result in an optimal experience.”
Only by fostering awareness and deep focus can you awaken a strong sense of awe and self-actualization within your attendees.
- Invite your attendees to engage in a problem-solving card game session (to answer an event-related question) with other guests, this way enjoying the fully immersive environment play provides.
Step #2. Ensure knowledge transfer through engaging narrative
How would you feel if you had to attend a conference on a super-interesting topic delivered in an extremely boring way? Most probably, you won’t be thrilled about the event, and possibly even annoyed or feel like you wasted your time.
As an article published in the Event Manager Blog highlights, “An engaging, attention-grabbing story will make anyone sit up and listen.” Transform your event into a story itself by ensuring the knowledge transfer through emotional storytelling.
- Find an adequate narrative, and most importantly, make sure to invite speakers and moderators who can incite the interest of your audience through compelling ways of delivering their speeches. Afterward, use a good event mobile app to share the visual support (documents, videos, presentations, etc.) that the speakers used during the event.
Step #3. Shape a multi-optional event environment
It may not seem so obvious, but when attendees have the freedom to choose, they feel empowered to be the co-creators of their own event experience. The uniqueness of this circumstance involves the possibility of deciding how they want to spend their time (such as listening to a keynote speaker, interacting with other guests, or simply taking a break).
- Create unique experiences by providing a neutral space where attendees could rest, connect, or do some work. Enable this space with big screens so that the guests can follow the keynote presentations or the round tables.
You may think that generating unique experiences during an event involves lots of money, resources, and sophisticated settings. However, in most cases, you can make your attendees feel the sense of novelty and self-actualization by slightly tweaking the things you’re already doing.
For example, instead of just providing a linear narrative, wrap the content of your event around engaging storytelling. Focus on designing a truly immersive activity, such as a problem-solving related game, to encourage interactions and minimize distractions, and so your guests can dedicate their undivided attention to something meaningful. Finally, be sure to let your audience choose how they want to interact with the space.