7 Ways to Ensure Attendee Participation Until the End

Looking to keep guests from skipping out on your grand finale? Here’s how.

Don’t you hate when you plan a great event (with a stellar turnout), only to see the crowd thin out halfway through the gathering? You’re not alone. Whether you’re hosting a Celebrate event, a Network event, a Promote event or a multiday Educate conference, try these tips to keep guests participating until the end. 

•    If you’re worried about attendees at multiday conferences taking off early on the last day, end the conference with a celebration they can’t bear to miss. Bonus: Ending the meeting on a high note is good for morale.

•    To encourage guests to linger and enjoy the experience at a social gathering, hold important announcements until the end. If there is a silent auction or raffle, announce the winners later in the evening, and require that guests be present to redeem prizes.

•    Plan for great entertainment, excellent food and beverage options and stunning decor that span the length of the event.

•    For events with multiple activities and meetings, make sure the agenda is sent out or posted online well in advance. This gives attendees time to plan ahead and enjoy the event until the very end.

•    Engage attendees with interactive activities and networking opportunities. Many professionals attend meetings and events to connect with other professionals—so make it easy for them to connect by using nametag conversation starters or a signature cocktail (activated-charcoal cocktails are the newest "it" beverages, FYI). You can also set up pre-networking communities online and on social media platforms (think Twitter walls and Foursquare events) so that attendees can acquaint themselves with one another beforehand and determine who they’d like to meet.

•    At social gatherings, bait guests with the promise of a surprise. Whether it’s entertainment or a special guest, attendees will stick around to find out what the surprise is!

•    Incorporate real-time social media displays throughout the event space and make attendees aware of the event’s hashtag (see tips for creating a killer hashtag here). This live display of their social media postings will keep them interested and engaged with the event’s many elements.