Events used to be about getting bodies in the door, then delivering a message to a captive audience and hoping it sticks. But today's busy professionals—attendees and event organizers alike—don't have time for such a haphazard method.

Real-world attendee engagement is crucial to event success, and events must deliver the benefits that participants want. Creating the experiences that event participants are looking for is what will drive attendee engagement.

The What and Why of Attendee Engagement

Attendee engagement is directly related to the level of commitment, involvement, and satisfaction that an attendee experiences regarding an event. And the whole point of increasing attendee engagement is to increase the value that people take away from an event.

Attendee engagement can be built before, during, and after an event. The most successful event organizers listen to their participants and implement their suggestions to ensure that every professional can, first of all, remain committed to attending the event and, after attending, leave that event feeling satisfied with the time and money they spent and even more dedicated to the event brand.

Events have built-in opportunities for engagement. From live presentations to one-on-one meetings, you can engage directly and indirectly with attendees in multiple ways while fostering connections among participants.

Drivers of Attendee Engagement: Involvement, Commitment, and Satisfaction

Event organizers can enhance a participant's involvement by keeping them active—as well as thinking and talking about the event itself. They can gather input about what attendees hope to gain from the event, provide an event hashtag to encourage real-time sharing on Twitter, and create an event "alumni" group on Facebook or LinkedIn to keep the discussion going long after the event has ended.

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image of Patrick Cava

Patrick Cava is marketing manager at Certain Inc., a leading provider of SaaS event management technology for the global meetings and events industry. Reach him via

Twitter: @Certain