Unique ideas for how to engage delegates in a corporate event

5th April 2022

As an event manager who deals with corporate clients from their initial enquiry through to on the day event management, I am often asked for unique or original ideas for how to keep delegates engaged and motivated at the event. Everyone has been to a work event which has included tea/coffee and death by Powerpoint… but there are so many ways to sneak in some added extras to jazz the event up a little.
Here are some of my ideas for how to make your event a little more unique and keep your delegates motivated throughout.

 

Food:

Corporate events do not need to mean a bland buffet at lunchtime followed by a sit-down meal in the evening. Depending on the length of the event that you are planning, you may not be required to provide a full meal for your delegates, but even if you are, there are some more exciting options out there which are worth exploring.

  • Snacks are a great way of giving your attendees a little treat, without breaking the budget. This can be anything from some sweets on the conference tables, to a full snack basket with different sweet and savoury items for them to choose from.
    Remember to try and include some healthier options such as fruit, granola bars or yogurts and of course remember to consider the dietary requirements in your group.
  • Hot/Cold buffets can include a lot of different items and can even be themed. Whilst there is a reason that buffet options tend to include popular items such as sandwiches, sausage rolls and crudites, you could source a themed buffet such as Chinese, Italian or Indian or perhaps go for a hot fork buffet with 3 or 4 different items served from chafing dishes.
  • Catering vans are a great way of providing something which is usually seen as a treat for your delegates. Pizza, fish and chips, burgers and hotdogs are all popular options, but you can even find more unusual vans such as burritos, paella, Caribbean and Indian street food for example.
  • There are some great ways of branding food items for that extra little something. How about cupcakes in your company colours with a logo on edible paper for dessert or your logo stamped on the top of the pork pies in the lunchtime buffet?

 

Beverages:

You will almost certainly be expected to provide liquid refreshments throughout your event and there are many ways to make these a bit more exciting for your delegates.

  • Water is a must within your event, but rather than just sticking with jugs of tap water, you can provide cordials, fresh fruit slices and a sparkling water alternative.
  • Tea/Coffee is usually another standard item, but you can include a range of fruit/herbal teas, some flavoured syrups and perhaps even a hot chocolate option for those who don’t drink normal tea or coffee. Also try to include some decaf options and have sweeteners available.
  • Soft drinks can also be seen as a treat within a corporate event. Anything from cans/bottles of fizzy drinks to fresh fruit juices or maybe even a smoothie are seen as exciting compared to water.
  • Alcohol may or may not be appropriate for your event. If offered, make sure that you have some nice non-alcoholic alternatives for those not wanting alcohol. A mocktail or variety of non-alcoholic beers/wines/ciders will show that you still wish to reward those who do not or cannot drink.
    If your company will not provide the alcohol, it may still be appreciated to host the event somewhere that attendees can purchase their own drinks following the event, providing that is permitted.
  • Again, how about trying to theme the drinks or keep them in company branded colours? You might provide a signature cocktail/mocktail or some coloured cups, stirrers or straws to stay on brand.

 

Activities:

The objectives of your corporate event will ultimately be the deciding factors for what activities you can or cannot include, but below are some ideas of how you can break up your day to avoid long periods of time for delegates to sit listening to presentations.

  • Icebreakers and energisers are small activities to get the group started or motivated for the next session. These can be anything from small 5 minute tasks to larger 30 minute activities and are usually something quite fun and energetic.
  • Larger team building activities can be included if you have the time and if your objectives allow for some rapport building within the group. If you are wise with your selection of activity, you can really nail some of your key objectives in an enjoyable way. Communication, relationship building, problem solving… and there are many specialist suppliers who can design and run the activity for you.
  • Breakout rooms or areas can be used for a variety of reasons, such as working in smaller groups, brainstorming ideas or even just small periods of quiet thinking or reflecting. The change in scenery can really help to keep your delegates motivated.

 

Interactivity:

It is important to keep your delegates involved in your corporate day, rather than just sitting listening to speakers and presenters. If the event does mainly involve presentations, there are some ways to vary the content to keep your attendees engaged.

  • It may seem like an obvious point to make, but investing in quality AV equipment is very important for keeping your delegates engaged. If they cannot see or hear what is being presented, they will switch off within minutes. If you are organising a large conference, you may need additional microphones, speakers and screens to ensure that every one of your attendees is involved.
  • If you have several different speakers/presenters, this can help delegates to focus and remain engaged. Try to take into consideration the styles of each presenter and encourage them to use different styles or equipment to one another.
  • Q&A sessions can be useful after each presentation and can help your delegates to take more away with them than originally planned.
  • Questions and interactivity can be enhanced by using digital answerpads. You would likely need to hire these in from an AV company, but when used in conjunction with the presentation at hand, they can keep delegates engaged with the content.
  • Ensure that you have a method of feedback for your delegates, either to complete there and then at the event or shortly afterwards. You will likely find out what worked well or what was not as successful and this will help you to plan your next event.

 

Rewards:

It may be that one of your key objectives of the corporate event is to reward your attendees, or perhaps you want to reward them for being involved in the event to begin with. Either way, your delegates are likely to be thrilled with anything that is a treat and separate from the more serious elements of the day.

  • Food/beverage is an easy way to reward the attendees. See the points above for how to include some unique ideas.
  • Goodie bags or freebies. If you have any merchandise that you can give away without too much cost, your delegates will likely be very grateful. If your event has been sponsored by another business, ask them if there is anything that you can gift to the attendees. Most businesses will have some branded merchandise to give away or might offer vouchers.
  • Fun activities or games can be a nice way to end a corporate event or even included as a main activity within the event. Perhaps you complete the serious elements in the morning and then treat your delegates to a fun team activity after lunch.
  • Spa treatments or massages can be included if you have some time and budget free. There are therapists that will come to a place of business and offer scalp massage, mini-facials, manicures/pedicures etc. or perhaps your event is at a hotel and spa who will offer a discount for your attendees.
  • Awards or recognitions for those who have contributed to the business can be a great way of engaging your delegates. This can be for their work throughout the past years or months, or maybe even just this event.
Free Advice Service
Are you planning an event or party? Is there something you want to ask? If you have a quick question; maybe you’re not sure if you have everything covered, or perhaps you are having difficulty in finding or selecting the perfect DJ, caterers, venue or decorative expert. Please contact our free ask service for advice and recommendations.