Apr 13th H2H

As technology has become increasingly sophisticated, it can be easy to overlook the importance of the human-to-human experience that comes with attending events. But the truth is, the human-to-human experience is one of the most important factors in an event’s success.  

More than ever in a post-COVID world, when people participate in a business event, they are not just looking for information, education, or products. Rather the primary reasons people attend an event is to connect and engage – to share knowledge, insight, and stories with likeminded peers and colleagues.   

We don’t consider it b2b or b2c – we call it h2h.  Human-to-human. 

How do we define it and how do we deliver on it? It goes way beyond networking breaks or plenary session polls. Beyond food and beverage. Beyond fitting as much content into two days as possible.  

It is about fostering connection with deliberation and intent – and delivering on someone’s individual “why”.   

What does that mean? Major brands have laid the groundwork for it a long time ago.   

It starts with identifying the personas of your attendees and looking beyond their title or position within their organization and viewing them through a human lens. What is their age range? What do they likely do in their free time? What do they read? Do they have children? Where do they shop? In other words, who are they as people? 

Once you take the time to identify and define your audience, you can then create experiences and events that are measurably impactful and effective – and that genuinely inspire and motivate your participants. 

From fluid content and customizable educational agendas that cater to differing needs and learning styles to networking opportunities and activity breaks, if you use human-centricity as your beacon, you can ensure a productive, enjoyable, memorable, and people-first experience. Combine this human approach with a dramatic workforce demographic shift, and you can truly change the game.  

(Quick segue! This is the first time in history that there are four generations in the workforce. 75% is currently comprised of baby boomers. Within five years, that will shift to millennial and Gen Z.  And they do not consume information the way baby boomers do.) 

So, what can you do to create a truly h2h event? Here are some tips: 

  1. Incorporate Immersive Experiences: Create an immersive event experience by incorporating virtual reality, augmented reality, and other interactive technologies. This will help attendees explore different scenarios and topics in a more engaging way.  
  1. Leverage Gamification: Leverage gamification to incentivize attendees to participate. Incorporate elements of competition such as leaderboards, points, and badges to motivate and engage the audience.  
  1. Utilize Live Streaming: Utilize live streaming to make the event more accessible and attractive. Live streaming can help attendees engage with the event even if they are not physically present – and if they are, they can still participate from a different change in scenery. 
  1. Incorporate Interactive Elements: Incorporate interactive elements such as polls, Q&A sessions, and group activities to get attendees involved. Consider using interactive elements like polls and surveys to get feedback from the audience or using group activities to encourage collaboration and discussion.  
  1. Facilitate Mentoring: Incorporate mentoring into your event agenda to help attendees learn from the experiences of their peers. Consider pairing attendees together to discuss their challenges and successes in a more intimate setting.  
  1. Foster Creativity: Foster creativity by incorporating creative activities such as art, music, or theater into the event agenda. Think interactive workshops or panels – encourage attendees to explore their creative side, relax, and have fun. And make sure to provide plenty of time for attendees to navigate their creative ideas and express themselves in a safe and supportive environment. You can do this through crowdsourcing or attendee-led ad hoc discussions. 
  1. Facilitate networking of various types: 
  • Informal and relaxed
  • Structured with conversation starters or icebreakers
  • Speed networking 
  • Reverse networking (in which attendees introduce themselves to presenters and panelists versus the other way around) 

Other random thoughts: 

  • If you can provide comfortable seating, do it! Gone are the days of endless hours in traditional venue chairs. 
  • Create deliberate opportunities for presenters to mingle with attendees. 
  • Feature different types of spaces that allow people to choose their event journey: informal chat areas, games, interactive demos, etc.
  • Allow brand ambassadors to greet attendees, offer friendly assistance, and engage in conversation. 

Remember – creating meaningful h2h experiences at events requires a thoughtful and intentional approach. By leveraging the data from your personas, incorporating immersive experiences, providing ample networking opportunities, and creating a safe and supportive environment, you can create an event that is both enjoyable and productive for all attendees. With this approach, you can cultivate meaningful connections and utterly transform your event. 

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