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How to Craft Authentic Event Experiences to Engage Attendees

"Moments of Awe" on a black background and a person with a surprised look on their face

When there are millions of dings, pings, and notifications that are constantly asking us to turn our attention away from where we are—there is a noticeable effort to draw people back into being fully present at an event experience and be firmly planted where their feet are, truly living in the present moment.  

This concept, Moments of Awe, was a takeaway LAI Event Consultant, Megan Wein, received from listening to Rick Rubin’s book, The Creative Act. As a musical producer that has transcended genre, Mr. Rubin remarks that creativity and ideas are all around us. So it’s our job as event creators to respond to the idea or the seed of an idea with some curiosity.  

Enter the experiential event—where we can suspend perceptions about what things “should look like” and focus more acutely on creating those moments of awe. From this inspiration, Megan recommends considering these three things when creating those moments of awe within experiential events. 


When we enter places, our brains are trying to analyze all of the factors of a space—where to go, who to connect with, and what activities/engagements are available to participate in. Ask your show producer about lighting, branded signage, ancillary A/V needs to help the space pop, access points to things like bathrooms, bars, and unique seating configurations. See how we elevated a longstanding gala through lighting, scenic, and signage. 

In the age of social media, do you consider how the space will photograph? Is there a particular focal point to consider, is it sleek, or is there branded imagery? When all of these things are planned for the built environment, our parasympathetic nervous systems can relax and allow for us to fully immerse ourselves in those moments of awe. 


At a recent event, we witnessed robot bartenders, private VIP activations with celebrities, a 5K, a pickleball tournament, and get this—a piercing and tattoo pop-up. Yes, you too can get a piercing or tattoo at a conference. While it seems a little ridiculous, it fit perfectly with the attendee who ascribes to a particular identity or maybe these attendees are more comfortable attending general sessions in jeans, doc martens, flannel shirts, beanies, and reusable water bottles. These examples aren’t meant to elucidate responses of shock, but rather allow us to really ask ourselves—what do our people really want when they come to an event or what would they find memorable? 


We all go to events and conferences to experience connection with peers in our industry or maybe subject matter experts we want to learn from. At experiential events, maybe there’s an opportunity to promote reciprocity among attendees to create a container for sharing and conversation. For example, you could provide notecards or prompts for attendees to write down something they want to ask the group—like having to vocalize a professional development goal or a particular question they might be experiencing in their job. By creating these containers of intentionality for attendees to participate in unexpectedly, they might feel some new support around an obstacle or feel the community of folks behind them.  

Build A Unique Event Experience with LAI Live Our team of expert event producers and managers have re-imagined numerous events ranging from the typical conference or exhibit to experiential events. 

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