Maximizing Engagement for Meetings (Online, In-Person, and Beyond) 

A well-run event is all about creating community. Read on for six tips on attendee engagement.

By Sandra Nam

events create community engagement

People process engagement and experience in their own personal ways. Maximizing engagement requires thoughtful and creative ways to let people connect with each other.  Maximizing experience requires thoughtful and creative activities around which people are connecting.  
 
People will either connect with their heads or with their hearts. During your event, if a speaker shares a story that touches the participants on an emotional level, then an opportunity opens up for those participants to deeply connect with each other over that shared experience. 
 
Other people like to connect around ideas, to find inspiration when different perspectives come together or when they find alignment or validation in the words and ideas of others. 
 
Here are six tips for how to maximize engagement at meetings, in-person and online, during an event or beyond. 

Tip 1 – Offer Choice and Flexibility in Modes of Communication 

Give different ways to allow people, generations, and individual personalities to choose how to engage, whether it be through audio, video, chat, or all the above. Why? Because communication is personal, and everyone’s preferred mode of communication differs from one another. Different engagements may be better suited via phone, text, Zoom chat or video, or email. Everyone wants the flexibility to communicate in ways that are most comfortable to them and the situation. 

Tip 2 – Build A Trusted Space 

For someone to be open, they must know that they are in a trusted space, a place that you are holding for them so that they can connect with others. Be known as a trusted place for people to feel comfortable. For example, design event invitations to help set expectations for how folks can show up to your event. Bring great listeners or subject matter experts who provide the value that your members need to hear from with fresh new perspectives. Why? Trust can be built most quickly through live events, both in-person or online, and through the lens in which your association is curating its content.

Tip 3 – Make Visible the Invisible 

Display shared skills and interests to reveal connections between event participants. Why? These shared connections give people an easy way to start the conversation. People love seeing their shared interests within their community, so be the organization that helps these connections be seen.

Tip 4 – Design A Focused, Shared Experience 

Design for the culture of your event and of your community. Why? A good community creates a sense of belonging, and this happens over time through multiple events and interactions.

Tip 5 – Make Space to Connect Beyond the Event 

Make your association’s community platform a one-stop-shop. Give people a single place to go for all the events and activities that your association has to offer. The tech should be simple and blend into the background, so that people can come to the foreground. Why? Because people didn’t come to click buttons, they came to develop professionally and with each other.

Tip 6 – Offer Food for Thought 

Provide valuable insights at any and every event. Events are opportunities to nourish our minds. People attend events seeking to walk away with some food for thought to help propel them to the next level. Why? Whether they take information away, or meet someone along the way, events plant seeds for new relationships that blossom over time.  

About the Author

Sandra Nam is the operations manager at QiqoChat. Qiqo is both an events platform and a community platform. It supports multi-modal communication (chat, audio, video, recordings, etc.), so that members can easily navigate and choose their method of communication and content discovery. Associations can brand their own space, design their rhythm of activities, and curate their own culture of events to keep the chatter and the content distribution flowing. Qiqo Community Builders are also available on a fractional, monthly retainer to help provide the human touch to facilitate connections between association’s members and its activities.

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