You’ve managed loads of events. You’re a successful event management company and have your own recognized clientele.

Yet you allow a packed agenda with speaker engagement and presentations. The delegates, be it employees of the organization, dealers or paid attendees; always head out in a daze. Usually craving the next break, lunch or dinner. Yes, you’ve included a drum circle every now and then in the odd event. But have you really stopped to consider the experience provided? After all, isn’t this what you do for a living?

The average adult attention span has plummeted from almost 15 minutes a decade ago to just about 5 mins now. This has been proven by research as well as our everyday interactions. So what do you do to keep your audience interested and engaged if you still allow your customers to use similar backdrops, powerpoints, panel discussions and the dreaded Q&A that no one pays attention to? As an event manager, isn’t it your job to tell your customers what is likely and not likely to work?

List them down. What doesn’t work?

A keynote address followed by a series of presentations
Boring PPTs. Well actually, most ppts.
Senior executives who are still working on their ppt on the day of the event – because it means they haven’t prepared
Silly gimmicks
Cinema style videos with deep voiceovers
A panel discussion
Motivational speaker who has a great story but no storytelling abilities
A big bag for delegates to take back filled with sponsorship collateral – usually trashed
An MC who spends most of the time asking the group to settle down

If this covers your suggestions in the last few events, then its time to rethink. What could you do?

1. TED style presentations – limit everyone’s presentation time to just 18 minutes. If some of the greatest ideas on earth can be presented in this duration, then why can’t everyone else pick up on it?

2. Engaging audiences through energizers. As simple as this sounds, this works because we all need a distraction before we can focus again. Otherwise, every subsequent bit of information is hazier to assimilate. This is precisely why conference energizers are used. Be it a 15 minute interlude or a one hour long engagement session. Everyone has seen it work.

3. Use other media rather than  conventional video formats. If you can give the audience something new, they will wait and watch. This holds good whether its your opening line in a speech or the style of presentation or video. Have you seen the white board animations we’ve created? Some of our biggest conversions have been through this media.

4. Most importantly, own the event and let your customers know that you want it to be the best. This might require you to say an occasional “NO”, but then so be it.

If the success of your conference is paramount, focus on the content, the delivery, the crispness and the engagement. Don’t consider a conference energizer as a “fill in” – its part of the main deal!