As an event planner in 2018, one of your biggest hurdles to overcome when selecting the event agenda is ensuring complete audience engagement. Thanks to smartphones, this has become a monumental task. The reality is that the average user picks up their phone 85 times per day. Your attendees have unlimited, immediate access to information, an open line of communication, and a never-ceasing stream of social posts at their fingertips—24 hours a day, seven days a week. With this constant distraction, event professionals are putting more emphasis on creating experiences that engage attendees with or without their phone. But how do you know if people are really engaging? Here are some signs.

1. Experiences Get Attendees out of Their Seat

It’s easy for attendees’ attention to be deviated to something else, like their phones, when the speaker that should have their attention is 50 feet in front of them. It’s not so easy to be distracted when an experience requires active participation from every person in the room—the level of engagement this achieves simply cannot be achieved using traditional event activities. Not to mention, getting attendees out of their seats appeals to shortened attention spans, and active participation in the experience creates strong engagement.

2. Experiences Connect People

Shared experiences drive interaction between participants while naturally appealing to a wide range of skills, backgrounds and experience levels. Through face-to-face interactions with one another, attendees engage in the experience and with their peers. Going through an experience together builds relationships, delivers a common language to walk away with, and provides memories that last.

3. Experiences will be Remembered

Experiences that are undeniably engaging leave an impression on attendees that does not easily fade away. Not only do attendees leave the event having experienced the outcomes for themselves and feeling like they were truly a part of the experience, but with flawlessly executed theming, they will have had fun! The advantage of an experiential event is that it is unlike people’s day-to-day realities. When you present an opportunity to participate, interact and explore, your event will be remembered.

All this is not to say that smartphones do not play a role in a successful event. In fact, they are a major engagement tool for event planners to use before, during and after an event. By enlisting the help of one of the many event platforms, you can send communications prior to the event and share photos and agenda changes at the event. These platforms also act as an easy access and convenient repository for materials when the event concludes. But adding experiences during the event will quickly put smartphones on the sidelines, allowing you to capture the coveted attention of your attendees.

As Chief Operating Officer of Eagle’s Flight, Sue’s senior leadership experience and facilitation skills have established her as a trusted partner and organizational development expert. She has a proven track record of successfully leading culture transformation in Fortune 500 companies and is an authority on training and development. She has over 20 years of experience in the creation and delivery of programs and custom designed solutions for Eagle’s Flight.