Why do people attend corporate events? Why devote time, energy, and funds to attend a conference, when they could be catching up on work instead?
- Enhance their skills and knowledge
- Build their networks
That’s it. Everything else is secondary. So, when developing an event strategy, keep those two reasons at the forefront. A great way to do this—and make your event a good time—is by combining engagement, problem-solving, and play through gamification
We recently broke down the two main types of gamification here. Now, let’s look at how to apply these techniques to your next event, making it a hit with your attendees.
Team and theme building activities
Game Developer Dr. Jane McGonigal says, “We like people better if we’ve played a game with them; we bond and build trust.” Games can be helpful guideposts for your guests, pointing them back to the central theme and main message of your meeting.
Gamified elements that focus on a team-building activity support your event’s branding, while letting your attendees build their networks. A client called us in to help unify their disparate teams through an annual event with the central theme “Transform”. We hired an artist to teach attendees how to transform brand-colored sheets of paper into replicas of the event’s origami bird logo. Teams competed to assemble flocks of paper birds, which were then used to create one giant origami bird, reinforcing the idea of unification through transformation. A simple game proved a perfect match for their message.
While there is no magic bullet to fight audience distraction, you can use mobile technology to fight fire with fire. Gamified event apps can keep attendees engaged and on-task (as well as off Twitter). This tactic works, as Guidebook reports that 86% of event attendees rated an event app as a top three element that made their event experience more enjoyable.
For an event that debuted a client’s multiple new expense report processes, we engineered competitive app simulations. Attendees vied for the best time through the new processes, with real-time leaderboards for their team, region, and district. Success for the individual meant success for the team.
As attendees score points in your app, you can post the leaderboards on digital monitors so people can track their progress—and engage in a little friendly competition—on breaks. In turn, you can also use the data from these app interactions to plan your next event and post-conference messaging.
Blend the physical with the digital
Virtual reality or augmented reality experiences add a level of interactivity that bolsters event messages or educational components. A product-focused simulation can be a powerful teaching tool, as well as a fun way to demystify the product’s function. Consider a VR demo we created that simulated the challenge of putting together a salad with hand tremors, like those associated with Parkinson’s disease. Imagine how that experience would pair with information on a product or drug meant to treat that illness.
For employees who may be hesitant or uncomfortable with change, a virtual simulation can help you roll out a new or changed process. Adding an element of play and discovery breaks down mental barriers, changes mindsets, and builds comprehension and morale.
The gamification tactics you choose should be as unique and individual as your event requires. Just remember to gamify with a purpose, encouraging attendee engagement and relationship-building. That, more than anything, makes the game worthwhile.