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| Written by Marie Johnson, CMP

Four Ways to Captivate an Audience

More often than not conference hosts end up crafting a jam-packed program, filling it with moment-by-moment stimulation. The biggest challenge to keep an audience engaged is managing the state of a large group of people for numerous hours, which is easier said than done. Apart from spacing out your program and giving attendees time to flow and digest information you can help communicate or enhance your brand message through thoughtful, dynamic and inspiring presentations.

Recruit a Great Emcee

An emcee is often the last item left to secure once the rest of the budget has been spent, yet this key persona can have the biggest influence on how your audience perceives the stage presence. Celebrity masters of ceremonies may come with a hefty price tag, yet a fun and engaging professional emcee can provide great value. It is best to involve an emcee earlier rather than later and provide them with key face time with your audience to enhance the return on your investment. 

Involve Your Speakers

Let the audience get to know the speaker. This allows them to get more out of the topic. One way to do that ahead of time is to ask speakers to write social media posts pre-conference so the attendees will become familiar with them. During the program, a speaker can connect quickly with your audience by infusing humor to grab the audiences’ attention or share something specific about the host. 

Design for Conversation 

Not all the engagement needs to come directly from the stage. In fact, the more audience members interact with speakers, each other, and the content, the better. Consider mixed seating options and be sure to include stand-up tables for your attendees, simple changes in space can encourage attendees to converse with each other in different environments. Make sure your speakers’ talk tracks include conversational tactics. 

Add End-of-Day Entertainment 

Conferences are usually long and no matter how captivating and stimulating the content is, people, get tired towards the end. Use professional entertainment to re-spark the energy in the room and strengthen the learning experience. Book a comedian or speaker with a fun story who will refresh the audience and energize them for the closing sessions.

Interested in M&IW’s Speaker Management services? Visit to learn more.