How to get them talking! Increase interaction to improve event impact

Guest interaction is key to creating events that live long in the memory. But how do you generate those all-important conversations between delegates? Jodie Guilford, business development & marketing manager at the Science Museum, shares her top tips…

In the age of social media the world is ever-increasingly focused on shared experiences; we ‘like’ relatable posts, ‘follow’ the same influencers and love a ‘trending’ hashtag to feel part of something bigger.

Yet, how does this translate to real life? It’s common at events to find attendees sticking with their own group for comfort, moving along the event journey together with little or no interaction outside of with those they know.

However, as an event organiser looking to capitalise from a shared experience, this can be problematic as the overarching goal of a memorable event relies on attendees’ conversation post-event. How, then, can planners ensure guest interaction at an event and broaden the impact of an event long after it’s taken place?

Break the ice
Incorporating areas with activities, games and challenges into an event is the ultimate ice-breaker – striking the balance between organic and forced fun of course! Once people see others getting stuck into a challenge they’ll be curious to try their hand too, forming groups of onlookers and creating a bond between guests as they encourage each other.

Talking points
The journey that guests take through an event can be key to the levels of interaction; gathering guests to stand stationary in one space can make it harder to mingle, for example. If attendees can wander along a clear route dotted with points of interest, artefacts and exhibits then these become talking points and it can be easier to strike up a conversation with fellow attendees.

Friendly competition
Competition between tables is a great way to instantly bond people as they’re sat together at a dinner function, or even incorporating interactive table-scapes that encourage teamwork. Activities such as a table quiz on the venue itself can work well as a way to further immerse teams into the experience.

Dinner conversation
Taking time and care over table plans for sit-down dinners means you can encourage people out of their comfort zone while ensuring conversation can be sparked between like-minded guests, plus they will have common ground in the shared event experience. A more informal dessert concept such as a dessert table can help put guests at ease if they know they are free to mingle after their meal, and can give a further opportunity for interaction. Choosing a venue with plenty of striking décor will also be a guaranteed conversation starter.