Whether you’re a professional event host, business leader, human resource manager, or event planner, understanding how to create engagement with your team members and guests is a necessity in today’s world.
From large events to small meetings, crowd engagement helps people focus on the purpose of the gathering. Every event and meeting has the goal of sharing a unique message. Understanding how to create and maintain engagement will help your attendees achieve that goal and walk away with a full understanding of your content and messaging.
So, how do you use your role as an event or meeting host to create and maintain the appropriate level of audience engagement?
Energy and excitement are key components to an engaged audience
Let’s begin by defining energy. At Elevate, we like to say energy is the invisible force that helps connect guests to your message, brand, and people. When an event has a high-energy crowd, there seems to almost be a buzz in the room of shared excitement, interest, and attention. When energy and excitement are at play, people stay engaged throughout the speaking engagements, meetings, trainings, and events. When energy falls short, however, a crowd suddenly feels a lot less like unity and a lot more like hundreds of individuals staring blankly ahead.
At Elevate, we believe hosts get the privilege to be the leader in energy. Like all things, practice leads to nearly flawless performance, but through the years we’ve picked up some best practices.
Straight from the hosts themselves: Tips for creating and maintaining the energy of an event
1. Set the pace: “Audiences never exceed your energy so you have to set the pace.” – Matt Peele, Elevate Director of Experience
2. Be authentic: “Make the room an environment that invites genuine energy. Genuine energy will pump the crowd up and be contagious. Contagious energy then creates faster buy-in.” – Ricky Spaulding, Elevate Client Success & Host
3. Be free to be you: “Get real. Share a personal story and make an emotional connection. Also—be funny.” – Jake Dudley, Elevate Experience Leader
4. Keep raising the energy level: “As a host, always be at least two notches above the guests for energy and bring them up to where you are. Build up the energy.” – Sean Specie, Elevate Director of Growth & Host
5. Invite others to join: “Create a story, build a stage, and then invite others into it.” – Dino Favara, Elevate Experience Design Intern
6. Guide the room: “Understand the difference between being a thermometer and a thermostat. It’s easy to be able to tell the temperature of a crowd. But as a host, it’s your job to set the temperature.” – Roman Kotowski, Elevate Experience Leader
Standing alone, these pieces of wisdom are powerful. Together, they can change your event.
One of the prominent themes we’ve heard from our hosts is around starting the event or meeting with high energy and not being afraid to read the crowd. Reading the crowd is a great tool to know what you are working with so that you can develop a plan to get from “here” to the goal, “there.”
Energy isn’t stagnant. It can, and should, be built up to throughout your gathering. If guests are continually getting more and more excited, they will stay active and engaged.
Another overarching idea revolves around the importance of authenticity. Authenticity on and off the stage invites others to do the same. Making connections is often the goal of any gathering, and hosts should be the one to lead the crowd in this method.
It’s really that simple!
· Set the pace
· Be real
· Be you
· Keep raising the energy level
· Invite others in
· Guide the room
We’d love to hear what you think is the most valuable advice for hosting an event, meeting, or speaking engagement. Let us know in the comments below!