#5 of The 5 Universal Desires of an Event Attendee “What I Want” – Don’t Be Boring!
By Jimmy Verrett, Senior Creative Strategist, InVision Communications
And now we come to the final installment of the series, “What I Want.” Together, we’ve explored four of the five basic desires or “care-abouts” that I suggest corporate event attendees share: 1. Know Who I Am, 2. Care About What I Care About, 3. Optimize My Time, and 4. Reward My Investment. Now it’s time to discuss number five.
When I was sharing my initial thinking about this set of what was originally four attendee care-abouts, my InVision colleague Mike Burgess remarked, “There’s another, I think.”
He paused for effect and announced, “Don’t be bloody* boring!”’
Mike’s right. Engagement is at the core of this practice and boring is never engaging. Falling asleep in a keynote or zoning out in a breakout is not what we want the event investment to encourage. So how do we not be boring?
We surprise and delight. We tell stories. We do rather than lecture. We entertain. We get up and move. We create conversations. We tug at heartstrings. We tickle the funny bone.
We aim to capture our audience’s attention and draw them in to the experiences we’ve created. We want them to be active participants rather than passive observers. We want them to engage with us and join us on a journey.
Whether we open a sales kickoff meeting with Colin and Brad from Who’s Line Is It Anyway? and pull a few executives on stage for some hilariously embarrassing improv, or we kick off a biotech conference with a heartfelt, tear-inducing personal story from a cancer survivor, we believe it’s important that the engagement is meaningful, not just spectacle.
Context matters; engage your audience with purpose. Colin and Brad serve to break down the barrier between the attendees and executives, making the executives more approachable and setting a friendly tone for the session. The emotional story of the cancer survivor serves as a reminder to the sales team that their work truly changes people’s lives, creating a powerful connection to the company.
So step away from the PowerPoint deck. Find a way to really connect with your audience. Be vulnerable. Be bold. Be different. Be authentic. Whether you make them laugh or make them cry, your audience will respond if engage with them on an emotional level. Our ability to connect with each other is what makes us human—it’s also what makes an experience memorable and meaningful. By infusing engagement with purpose, we move people to action. And that’s never boring.
This concludes “What I Want” – The 5 Universal Desires of an Event Attendee. I hope that you have found this series to be insightful and valuable. If you want to speaker further about how we can help you with your next program, contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Just remember: Don’t be boring!
*Yep, Mike is a Brit.