Why should event planners and meeting planners read this post? To avoid common pitfalls that lead to guest boredom and depletion of future attendance. After many years of being involved in corporate, charitable, and special events we have compiled a list of things that drain the energy of an event and put the audience to sleep. Do you have anything to add? Feel free to post to help others keep their events engaging and memorable.
1. Choose a monotone, soft-spoken emcee
" . . . And the 47th award goes to . . . " This will surely put your guests sleep. Often it seems an obvious choice to ask one of the organization's leaders to facilitate the announcements, awards, etc., however, unless the leader happens to be a natural public speaker, it would be wise to bring in a professional emcee. If you chose a comedic emcee, be sure to ask for any jokes / humor he or she plans to incorporate so there are no embarrassing surprises. It is also common to reach out to local TV personalities be the host for your event.
2. Plan all of the talking as one, long speech
If you have a lot of information, many awards to present, or new board members to acknowledge, beware of killing the energy. If you have a printed program, you can be sure that your guests will be anxiously glancing down at the list to see how much longer the have to sit. Consider breaking up announcements to occur at the beginning, during dessert, and at the end of your event. If you place important announcements during dinner, you may not have everyone's attention. Don't "pass the mic" or you will risk of that one long-winded fellow throwing off your whole schedule. Pre-plan and pre-time all talking.
Consider breaking the monotony with video announcements - these should be no longer than 2 minutes max. Videos are a great way to state your organization's vision and branding in a concise fashion. Be sure to test all video clips with the venue's lighting so they don't appear faded. If you don't have professional footage, you can create an animated slideshow with Powerpoint or Keynote - pretend you are designing a billboard and keep wording minimal.
3. Don't change the lighting or music
This will surely add to the monotony, and ensure your guests will begin to tune out your information. They may start chatting amongst themselves or looking at their phones. To draw attention to your speaker, change the lighting by dimming the house and illuminating the stage or podium. This is simple, yet highly effective and teaches the crowd to hush naturally.
Hire a band to play a drumroll or "here comes the winner" music while folks are making their way to the front to accept an award or have a photo taken. If a band isn't in the budget, consider a DJ or create your own playlist.
4. Be sure there is nothing to look forward to
Information-only . . . blah, blah, blah . . . when can I go home? This is not what you want your guests thinking to themselves. Make sure there is something to look forward to such as entertainment, or dancing, etc. Just like dessert, save the best for last and continue building anticipation throughout the event by referring to the big surprise or after party that is about to take place.
- Shorter is always better for information retention
- Have a drawing or giveaway
- Save photos for after the event
- Request that the audience hold applause to the end
- Create a visually pleasing backdrop
- Use pre-recorded emcee (Fiverr.com is a great place to start)
- Seat speakers, award recipients, etc. near the stage in correct order
- Have a designated stage manager to cue speakers, winners, etc. to avoid lulls
We look forward to hearing your ideas for busting boredom at events - please share!