Picture it: Your conference is moving along great, your speakers have been amazing, and your attendees seem engaged. You break for lunch, everyone comes back for the afternoon session... and all of a sudden the energy in the room takes a nosedive. You catch attendees dozing off, or staring at their phones, or starting their own conversations which distract the people around them.
Our bodies naturally take an energy dip after big meals and/or in the middle of the afternoon, so it's only natural that you might run into these kinds of problems sometimes - no matter how high the quality of your content. But there are ways you can combat this energy dip and get your attendees excited again! Here are 10 ways to beat the mid-conference slump:
1. Start off your afternoon session with an interesting story or an attention-grabbing intro.
By starting off strong, you set the tone for the session and encourage listeners to give the speaker their full attention from the jump. High-impact lighting and concert-level sound can also help to make an entrance or event intro really pop!
2. Add some humor!
Don't be afraid to incorporate some light-hearted, appropriate jokes to entertain your audience and help them to stay engaged.
3. Mix up your pacing and your tone of voice.
Speaking in monotone will make your attendees lose interest in the content very quickly, so make sure that you're allowing for some fluctuation and some changes in pacing to keep your audience interested. (For more tips on how to succeed as a speaker, check out our related blog post: How to Help Your Speakers Give Their Best Presentation Ever)
4. Take a break and encourage your attendees to get moving.
Whether you lead them in some stretches and light exercises or just give them an opportunity to wander, getting the blood flowing can do wonders for a waning crowd.
5. Serve healthy snacks during breaks.
Sweets and sodas can cause a spike in blood sugar, which is typically followed by a steep drop, leaving people feeling low on energy. But low glycemic foods that are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats release sugars more slowly, giving your attendees more sustained energy.
6. Keep the event space cool.
An excessively warm room can be enough to lull your audience into a post-lunch state of drowsiness, so make sure that the temperature remains at a comfortable, slightly cooler level.
7. Never read a slide.
Besides the fact that your audience is capable of reading slides themselves, your slides are meant to be supplementary to your talk, not to be redundant & reiterative. They are meant to provide a visual aid in order to clarify the content of what you are speaking about. Watching a speaker simply read their slides encourages the audience to read for themselves & to tune the speaker out, so make sure you're using your slides wisely. (For more tips on creating presentation visuals and slides, check out our related biog post: Ten PowerPoint Tips)
8. Keep things interactive.
You could have an activity for your attendees to take part in, or give your attendees a chance to participate in the conversation around your talk. You could poll them using open-ended or multiple choice questions, ask them to vote on a certain topic, or even have a fun quiz! Polling apps like UMU allow your attendees to respond using only their mobile devices - no clickers or special hardware necessary! (Learn more about audience participation methods here: The Evolution of Audience Participation)
9. Switch up your display graphics.
You can shift the tone or add energy to a space by incorporating more active motion graphics or brighter, more colorful artwork into what's being shown on-screen in the afternoon.
10. Incorporate a live feed!
Get attendees excited by incorporating live feed - of a guest speaker, a satellite audience, or even another conference or event - into your presentation! Live streaming can be quite simple these days, and is a fun way to pique your audience's interest.
For more tips on how to keep attendees engaged at your next conference, click here: 7 Ways to Increase Audience Engagement with AV