In recent posts on gamification and IoT we talked about some ways to use technology to better engage modern event audiences. While the tech is here to stay and it is important to integrate it into events, every new twist you add does not have to involve technology.
In a recent survey, 99% of respondents said that in-person meetings have helped them succeed in their careers. Meetings are seen as critical to business and personal success and the rise in spending on attending them (both in the general market and the federal market) backs up that belief. Attendees want more than a technology-heavy experience (they get that in other facets of their work day). They want experiences that are uniquely real world. So how do event planners keep events fresh without making them a virtual reality experience?
While the topics discussed at government events can be incredibly serious -- national security, cyber threats, defense -- that does not mean events have to be solemn. We've talked here before about bringing some fun to federal events without undermining the critical nature of the content.
Whether we realize it or not, Gamification has made its way into our professional lives. From "medals" awarded during mandatory online training to challenge.gov-type procurements to department contests for holiday cube decorating or charitable collections, we've inserted gameplay seamlessly into our work lives and it can also be done at our events. This game motivation goes back to our school days when teachers would post stars next to classmates' names for good behavior or excellent grades.
We are hearing that budgets and travel restrictions for government are starting to loosen up a bit and event planners are more optimistic about growing their in-person attendance. But this growth in physical events does not necessarily signal a downturn in virtual events. We believe that online events such as webinars, virtual tradeshows, and streamed hybrid events are here to stay and here's why.
When we saw the headline, How to Entertain a Serious Audience, we immediately thought of government events. We know it is an overgeneralization and a misrepresentation that people who serve the government tend to be more serious, bureaucratic, and careful with their words, but there is some truth to this stereotype. With very real mandates around gifts, endorsements, and the reality of austere budgets, events for the federal sector cannot be as flashy as those for commercial-focused attendees. But that does not mean they cannot be fun.
While the day-to day work and missions of government audiences are incredibly important, vital, and sometimes even deadly serious, it does not mean they don't enjoy some levity. Here are a couple ideas to lighten the mood at events and create some fun differentiators in the crowded federal event marketplace.
In a new series here on GovEvents, we'd like to share some of the best tips and tricks we've found in navigating the world of events. From attending to exhibiting, we hope our tips (some discovered through missteps) will help you get the most out of events. In today's post, we'll focus on tips for attending events.
- Go in with a plan - look at the agenda and exhibitor list the week before the event and take some time to plan out your time there. Block sessions you want to attend into your calendar and make notes on the booths you want to see. Make sure you build in time to check emails or grab coffee with people you meet. Doing this a week out also gives you time to confer with colleagues. If others are attending how do you best divide and conquer? If you are going alone, are there sessions or companies they'd like you to see while you are there. Jot down questions you want to make sure you get answered while there.