Last week, the Aventri sales and marketing teams from around the globe met in Charleston, South Carolina for our annual Revenue Kick Off (RKO). I think I speak for everyone when I say it was perhaps the best RKO ever with everyone leaving the event feeling more educated about our latest product offerings and more inspired to make 2020 a great year for our company. On top of a beautiful location (Kiawah Island Resort) and informative and engaging content, the event was a big success. Another positive post-event observation made by our team was the noticeable lack of people on their phones or laptops throughout the two jam-packed days of learning and socializing.
Keeping attendees focused and not glued to their devices throughout an event is a common challenge for planners, so we thought it would be helpful to share what we did to keep everyone on our team engaged throughout RKO, so that planners can apply these tips to future meetings and events!
Strategically Placed Charging Stations
In order to limit laptop and phone usage at RKO, our organizers made the decision to not place charging stations or power strips on the tables in the ballroom we were in. Instead, attendees could leave their devices plugged in alongside the walls away from the tables or go outside the room. Although it was a simple idea, it was well-received in our group, and resulted in the creation of a more focused learning environment.
Include Engaging, Fun Content
Why do attendees often pull out their phones or laptops during an event? Other than to address urgent business, it's usually because they are bored or unengaged. This led to us limiting the use of slides and Power Point presentations throughout RKO, and favoring other learning formats such as breakout sessions. Other fun examples included a fireside chat with our new CEO Jim Sharpe, a Jeopardy style game with company and product-related trivia, and even a mini-exhibit hall that allowed our teams to interact with our technology first-hand.
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Create an Easy Flowing Program with Breaks
An event like RKO is a great opportunity for a company to bring its sales and marketing teams to together and prepare for the year ahead, but that doesn't mean that business as usual can just stop for a couple days. That's why we made sure there were plenty of five to 15 minute breaks every 90 minutes or so, so that our team could have time to answer any important emails or take a quick call. This ensured they could put away their laptops or phones for a bit knowing there would be dedicated times to get work done throughout the day.
Make Your Event Mobile App Engaging
Even if you ask for your attendees to put their devices away, you know many of them will sneak in a text or email here and there. Another tactic to keep everyone engaged follows the classic advice: "if you can't beat them, join them." Instead of making it difficult to use or ask that attendees put them away, try incorporating your mobile app into your event content. At RKO this year, for example, attendees used our event mobile app to participate in polls, submit questions for our CEO's fireside chat and review their agendas.
When it comes to eliminating digital distractions at meetings or events, rarely is a planner's efforts going the yield perfect results. But putting in some effort to curb the use of engagement suckers like laptops and phones is worth it and will be noticed and appreciated by attendees and speakers alike!
What do you do to keep device use to a minimum at events? Do you plan on utilizing any of these tips? Share in the comments below.