As you may notice, my primary focus is on how we can leverage psychology in events. Why? In short, appealing to some core psychological mechanisms makes any event more impactful and brings more results easier. I got to think about it again recently because I came back from IMEX18 in Las Vegas, and there were a few moments that I’d say provide good examples to the above.
Setting the tone
There are various ways to set the tone for an event. Here is one example from IMEX18. When entering trade show floor, there were many volunteers around showing the way and answering questions. Apart from being generally pro-active, what impressed me was that volunteers greeted visitors by their name which they picked when scanning their badges. A tiny detail. Yet, name is a powerful tool (an argument backed up by science). When hearing their name, an individual immediately feels more welcomed. It adds to personalization of experience and creates positive emotions right at the doors. Whoever instructed volunteers to do that was absolutely knowledgeable of how well it works.
I followed IMEX social team prior to the event and as an attendee, I got lots of practical info, for a start. Also, from what I observed during the trade show itself, the online presence was so timely and so intense that I would get FOMO, too, if not at IMEX! I believe this is crucial part which consists of dozens of small details (planned tweets; fast and relevant responses; helpful info; videos and photos up right when it’s time, etc). It helps creating a sense of live stream that tags along many emotions and I am sure influences someone’s decision: ‘next time I am in!’
IMEX is a huge trade show; exhibitors should carefully consider how to stand out from the crowd. Several exhibitors went big – built beautiful, striking, show-like booths. This was more typical of large hotel chains and country booths. Personally, I prefer cases where the small details speak louder than the size. And almost always, psychology is involved in those cases.
Smart Meetings, for instance, offered everyone a chance to take a cover photo. The photo booth is a popular activity among attendees. The thing I liked about this idea is that it matches the exhibitor’s field (an industry publication), and it cleverly exploits human’s burning desire for fame – who would not want to be on the cover of an industry publication, even just for fun? People love recognition, love to be famous (this is why sharing pictures from events works so well). The cover photo session worked exactly the same way, only it increased traffic to the booth and made it a perfect win-win for everyone. By the way, I couldn’t resist too.
The most innovative teams already leverage psychology in events. Whether you want to stand out, improve communications, or create unforgettable moments, understanding human nature is critical. Don’t wait – start now. Utilizing behavioral knowledge to inform event design decisions will enable you to create truly impactful experiences. I will be happy to help you on this journey.