Engagement + Marketing

How to Engage the ‘Other Half’ of Your Attendees

Here are two ways to get attendees out of the hallways and back into your sessions.

At most professional conferences, we find that about half of the attendees are in sessions. What about the other half? They’re in the conference hallways, working in their rooms, or enjoying the destination and facilities.

This isn’t a terrible sign — if your conference has high loyalty and a tribe-like feel. In fact, I see it as an opportunity. There are two main strategies to get more attendees to participate in the sessions:

Add white space. Make sure that you program 30-minute breaks between sessions. This bakes in time for reflection and hallway conversations.

Embrace learning design. Ask your speakers what they expect participants to do during their session. If the answer is sit and listen, with a few minutes allotted for Q&A, you’re going to continue to lose attendees to the hallways. They want to learn from one another, not just the speaker(s) in front of the room.

Read more by Convene columnist Dave Lutz, CMP, about conference design.

Dave Lutz, CMP

Dave Lutz, CMP, is managing director of Velvet Chainsaw Consulting.