5 Fresh Ways to Build Buzz & Engagement in your Next Meeting

Magical thinking

By Andrea Driessen, Chief Boredom Buster

Magical thinking, as illustrated here, is just that. But wouldn’t you rather aim for practical thinking over magical thinking?! After all, a fresh idea that’s well executed can transform attendees’ and the hosts’ experiences. And it can further position your meeting as cutting edge and unmissable.

To that end, here are 5 new ways to inject innovation and impact for your participants—and even generate more revenue for your organization.

1-Help Shiny Objects Shine Brighter

Handheld electronic devices in the hands of many meeting goers often distract others who are trying to focus on the meeting experience. When some audience members just HAVE to be consistently online during a conference, reserve them a special spot in the meeting room where their screens and efforts won’t bother colleagues. At TEDxSeattle, we place self-identified attendee bloggers, for example, in box seats in our theatre. A roped off area at the back works just as well. Bottom line? Be service driven and intentional, and everyone’s happy.

2-Meet Beyond the Ballroom

When you’re hungry for a change of scenery and looking for an unusual, affordable venue, check out You might think of it as an Airbnb for meeting space, as they make it easy to search for cool venues in Seattle, San Fran/Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and New York.

3-Secure the Quadruple Win

Have sponsors itchin’ for new ways to gain exposure that go beyond the predicable, and that still have significant monetary value? Use short (1- to 2-minute) interstitial videos that promote a cause, a product or a service in a succinct, unexpected way. Then play the footage in between your “regularly scheduled programming,” and/or to engage the audience and distract them while the stage crew is changing out a set. “Big” TED 2016 in Vancouver played short interstitial videos throughout their multi-day event. TEDxPortland rolled out a similar video series, with each video chosen via a community contest. They also secured sponsorship for all 8 from an insurance company. Voila, a quadruple win: the audience, the contest winners, the sponsor and the event host itself. See the TED sponsor videos here:

4-Calculate High Levels of Sponsor Love

Last year at TEDxRainier I wanted a distinct way to recognize sponsors that went beyond the boring slapping of logos on everything and simply thanking people from stage. So I calculated the total dollar value of every single sponsor, which inevitably generated a rather large number. And since we happily had a TEDx speaker who focused on how to love math, we brought him up back on stage toward the close to “do the math” on the cost of a day’s ticket without sponsors. There was an audible gasp in the theater when attendees realized the true per-person cost—and thus the tangible bottom-line-value of our generous sponsors.

5-Tap this Treasure Trove of Engagement Tools

You’ll undoubtedly find significant actionable value in this no-cost book download—Engaging Events: How to use Live Interactive Technology to Create Successful, Memorable and Engaging Experiences. A juicy, practical collection of strategies, tools and case studies, it’s quite worth your time:

So how will YOU make magic with a fresh, new and unexpected approach, rather than just relying on “magical thinking” to carry you?