Gamification. It’s been a buzzword for several years now: a simple and effective way to encourage attendees at conferences and events to engage and interact.
Voting handsets, in-event mobile polling and competitive social sharing are just a handful of examples.
But there’s no need to invest in new hardware, or panic about the latest hot trend. There are plenty of ways to incorporate gamification into your events without getting everyone to pull out their phone and download an app.
Take your gamification offline, and you can still give your guests in an exciting, immersive experience.
Use breaks to teach mini-workshops on simple skills.
There’s lots of fun to be had in spending ten minutes learning how to decorate a cake, count in an unfamiliar language or create a piece of art. It also helps pull individuals together to work as a team, in a relaxed low-pressure environment. Source ‘talents’ from your attendees in advance, and encourage volunteers to take on the role of trainer.
Popular TV show Taskmaster sees Greg Davies set a series of absurd tasks for a group of comedians to attempt, to earn arbitrary points.
While the goal of the show is to make the audience laugh, there’s plenty of upbeat inspiration to be had. Tasks like ‘Make this Swedish man blush’ or ‘Transport this boulder as far from here as possible’ might be beyond your reach, the show also incorporates team tasks: creating a short film, or taking a wheelie bin around an obstacle course without speaking English.
Five fingers of one hand
If your attendees have their networking skills honed, then the arrival coffee and morning break won’t be filled with awkward silences. But you can still leverage those times to add gamification, and support those who are feeling less confident about making those first introductions.
This technique is similar to ‘Two truths and a lie’, a common ice-breaker. In this version, draw around your own hand and label each finger or thumb with something about you – including four true things, and one lie. The extra two ‘fingers’ give this task a different focus, and give the opportunity to share more about what you do and who you are.
Scavenger hunts have benefitted from a hi-tech upgrade over recent years. From geocaching to Google’s Visual Positioning Service, tech can make your treasure hunt more Pokemon Go than Anneka Rice.
But while those elements add fun and variety, the core of a scavenger hunt remains teambuilding. Keeping it simple allows you to run a scavenger hunt over a multi-day conference, with delegates assigned teams and tasks: gather fifty people in a particular room at a set time of day; count or collect branded or coloured balloons or other objects; work together to make a human pyramid or build a tower. Theming is often especially popular when tuned to the right audience, like this Harry Potter-themed challenge from YourMembership.
It might be retro, but with a little preparation a game of bingo can bring your event to life.
Prepare bingo cards appropriate to this event, with different options included on each card. Categories might be specific (‘has worked in this field for over five years’) or general (‘likes cheese’). Then it’s down to your attendees to talk with one another, share their knowledge and race to the prize.