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Neen James

May 31, 2018 by Speakers' Spotlight

How to Get (and Keep) Your Audience’s Attention

Sales, Leadership and Productivity Expert Neen James understands that event planners are vying for their audience’s attention within a whirlwind 24/7 cycle of commitments, distractions, data, and deadlines. She focuses on finding practical, immediately implementable solutions to help everyone better manage their time and focus on what really matters.

Today, Neen is sharing her expertise on how to best catch and keep an audience’s attention. See below for some of her top tips that you can use to engage your audience before, during, and after your event.

Meeting and event planners invest thousands of hours to create memorable events, paying attention to every little detail! But, how do you get (and keep) your audience’s attention?

Every event needs a “BDA” — that’s my fancy way of saying “before, during, and after” — process. And this is comprised of two vital elements for getting your audience’s attention: how you engage and the environment you create.

How does that play out in the real world? I interviewed meeting planners, marketing coordinators, and professional speakers to find out.

Before your event

  • Leverage your presenter relationships. Keynote speaker and author Tami Evans encourages all meeting planners to work closely with your speakers to help deepen their knowledge of your audience and industry. She says a great question for meeting planners to ask speakers in the pre-event call is, “What did you do to prepare for our call today?” Put your speakers on notice, she says. They are a partner in your event.
  • Leverage social media. Long before your event, use your social media channels to allow attendees to contribute to conversations, ask questions about the event, and get to know your speakers. You also can get attendees’ attention by providing testimonials. Attendees listen to what their peers share.
  • Leverage your space. Jim Kelley, vice president of marketing and industry relations with PRG, says, “Ensure that the physical space is appropriate for the length of session and the content. Consider mixed seating options and be sure to include stand-up tables.”
  • Consider hiring an emcee. A talented emcee (or opening speaker) can create group dynamics that will keep your audience’s attention, says Mike Ganino, who is a speaker and performance coach for TEDx Cambridge.

During your event

  • Schedule networking and connection breaks. Audience members will want to check their phones, return emails, have bio breaks, and catch up with friends they might only see once a year. Don’t jam-pack your agenda! Attention is all about connection — leave time for it.

After your event

  • Share success stories on social media. Publish photos and encourage attendees to tag themselves. Plus, share links to tools and slides provided by industry experts and presenters.
  • Publish video compilations. Tami Evans and Christine Cashen are notorious for creating video compilations set to a popular song every year at their annual industry event, the National Speakers Association Winter Conference. Videos like this one are published across all social media platforms and shared widely.

This article was originally published on MeetingsNet. Read the full version here.