5 Ways to Make an Event “Interactive”
I had a fantastic conversation with a colleague yesterday that got me thinking of the 5 Ways to Make an Event “Interactive”. There are plenty of activities vying for our attention. How do you, as an event planner, get heard above the noise? Why would somebody choose your event over the approximately 2,486,542 other happenings popping up all over town? This colleague had the idea to shift their current offerings to a more “interactive” and “experiential” model. But how to get started?
On top of our soft skills training, (ix)plore Lab also consults with individuals and organizations wishing to do just this. So, if you want a more in depth breakdown, by all means drop us a line. For now though, here are a few tips to get you started.
1. Let The Environment Do The Work
The space you hold your event in can be your best friend. Give your guests an environment to explore and interact with, and audience engagement will be easier than ever. Whether you are scattering clues, content to read, or decour to enjoy, be sure of two things. One, let them physically interact with the environment. Instead of leaving a clue out in the open, have the audience discover it within a dusty tome or a locked drawer. Instead of artwork that is simply there to be looked at, have an exhibit that audiences can contribute to by leaving notes or trinkets for others to find. Guests will create their own stories simply by exploring the space. Two, get the guests moving. People tend to clump together with people they feel comfortable. Create a space that asks to be explored. This will get people traveling throughout the space and interacting with other guests. Which brings us to our second bit of advice…
2. Let The Audience Help
Guests engaging with hired actors is fun, but you know you are doing well when guests begin engaging with strangers. Create opportunities for the audience to do the work for you. Whether through activities that require guests to work together, or something as straightforward as gathering guests around a table and having an actor curate a conversation, once you break the ice your attendees will come out of it with some new acquaintances and a more memorable experience.
3. Accept Their Offers
You have this awesome concept for your event, right? It has an engaging aesthetic, a powerful message, and gosh darn it people are going to come out of it transformed! Then, a group of guests come in and just don’t seem to get it. They are engaging with your actors in completely the wrong way, so they just aren’t going to get the proper experience, right? Nope! However an audience member chooses to engage is correct, as long as they are being respectful of other attendees. Always react to your guests as if what they bring to the table is exactly what was needed. Once you engage them in the way they would like to play you create a connection. Once you have that connection, you can give them the planned experience. However, once you treat a guest as if they have messed up, they will tune out.
4. Keep It Simple
Now, about that awesome concept… don’t make it too complicated. Interactive events are all about guests creating their own stories in an environment you create. If your experience is too bogged down, it may feel like there is no room for those stories! Keep it simple, and trust in the audience.
But how do you ensure your audience gets the full experience? Well, you should have a team of interactors working with you. Actors and hosts trained in interactive performance can work to curate your experience so that each guest feels empowered to engage. As guests enjoy the event, they can interact with actors who work to create connections, create stories with guests, and encourage them to play a part in the event’s proceedings. Hosts can work to connect with guests and encourage them to connect with other attendees, creating more opportunities for memorable engagement. The interactive performance skillset takes some time to learn, but if you are interested, please check out our Interactive Training at ixplorelab.com.