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How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive

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How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive. When it comes to planning a corporate or business event, the real challenge lies in turning what can typically be quite a passive occasion into lively, memorable experiences that truly engages and educates the attendees.

Overview: what every interactive session needs

Every interactive session should have:

  • Active engagement: Get people involved with hands-on activities.
  • Real world relevance: Link activities to practical scenarios or current trends.
  • Diverse formats: Cater to different interests and ways people like to learn.
  • Gamification and fun factor: Keep it light and enjoyable, even when it's serious learning.

Seven ideas to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive


  1. Gamify your ice-breaker
  2. Ask the experts, table-top discussions
  3. Breakout groups with tasks and problem-solving
  4. Create interactive panel discussions with audience polls and question "up-voting"
  5. Choose your own adventure sessions
  6. Guided networking 
  7. Create an "ad campaign" based on the theme of the event


The pitfall is to stick to the same old routine: Speakers talk, and the audience listens. This often leads to people tuning out, losing interest, or getting distracted. The trick is to break away from this dull routine by injecting energy and interaction.

During my career as a female motivational speaker in the UK, I've spoken at and hosted hundreds of business and corporate events. In this guide, I aim to share with you the strategies for interaction and engagement that made the most successful ones so memorable.

By simply shaking up session formats, adding hands-on activities, and making networking a breeze rather than a chore you can boost participation, enhance learning, and build strong connections among attendees. 

Knowing what the audience wants and needs is essential for a successful event, whether it's for learning, networking, or team building.

So here are my practical tips and creative ideas to help planners craft events that aren't just informative, but also truly enjoyable.

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Making your corporate event more engaging and interactive: what do attendees want and need 

First off, they want interaction. This doesn't just mean a Q&A session at the end of a talk, but real, hands-on involvement. Think interactive workshops where they can actually try out new skills, or breakout sessions where they can throw ideas around with others. It’s about making them feel like they’re an active part of the event, not just a spectator.

Making your corporate event more engaging and interactive: structured networking

Networking is a big deal too. Attendees are often looking to connect with others, whether that's for business opportunities, sharing ideas, or just finding like-minded people. 

But here's the thing: networking needs to be more than just 'grab a coffee and chat'. Structured networking activities, like speed networking sessions or networking games, can make a huge difference. They’re more fun and less awkward, and they give everyone a fair shot at meeting new people.

Attendees are also after variety. They don't want to be stuck in the same chair, in the same room, all day. Mixing up the event with different formats – panels, workshops, discussions – keeps the energy up and caters to different learning styles and interests.

And let’s not forget the basics: they need breaks. Regular, well-timed breaks are essential, not just for grabbing a coffee, but for absorbing what they’ve learned and networking informally.

Workshop and interactive session ideas to make your corporate event more engaging 

Here are ideas to shake up the traditional format of your corporate or business event. I've participated in and facilitated all of them and found they not only boost attendee engagement but create real buzz and memorable moments.

How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive

1. Gamify your ice-breaker

This idea not only breaks the ice at events but is also a great way to create a buzz and conversation in the room.

The event host asks everyone to find a person they don't know. 

They are then given two minutes to discover as many things as possible about each other. So for example, do they work in the same industry? Holiday in the same places? Live in the same city?

After the two minutes are up, the host prompts everyone with, "If you found five things in common, please raise your hand." The host gradually increases this number, asking about six, seven, or more commonalities, until one pair emerges as the winner, having found the most things in common. 

This winning duo is then awarded a prize. This ice-breaker not only eases attendees into the event but also fosters a sense of camaraderie and light-hearted competition right from the start.

2. Ask the experts, table-top discussions

The event space is set up with several round tables, each designed as a centre for lively and in-depth discussions. An event host takes charge of the timing and coordinates the movement of groups from one table to another.

At each table, there's an expert on a topic related to the event's theme, essentially creating mini-masterclass stations. Attendees gather around these tables, not just for small talk but for a valuable chance to interact directly with an expert on a specific subject.

For example, in a digital marketing conference, one table might be dedicated to an expert in social media algorithms, while another could have a seasoned SEO strategist leading the discussion.

The experts at each table are more than just speakers; they're facilitators of the conversation. They're there to answer questions, offer insights, and stimulate thoughtful discussions. Attendees are encouraged to come with their own questions or professional challenges, ready to tap into the personalized advice and insights these experts can offer.

Timing is key in this setup. Each round of discussion at the tables is precisely timed. This keeps the conversations focused and dynamic and ensures that the overall event stays on schedule. Everyone gets a chance to interact with the experts without any single discussion running over and disrupting the event flow.

At the end of these sessions, there's an opportunity for a group wrap-up. This allows attendees to share what they've learned not just from the expert at their table, but also insights gathered from discussions at other tables. It's a moment to broaden the learning experience, taking in diverse perspectives and insights from across the event.

How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive

3. Breakout groups with tasks and problem-solving

After listening to the keynotes and presentations, attendees are split into smaller groups, each given their own table or space. This sets up an interactive and team-based part of the event.

In this segment, each group gets a specific task or challenge, related to what they've learned so far. They're given some basic written guidelines to help them stay focused on the task at hand. This isn't just a discussion exercise; it's a practical task that requires collaboration to produce a real result.

Each group picks a member to present their work and answer questions from the audience. This role adds a sense of responsibility and makes the task more engaging for everyone involved.

A facilitator oversees the session, ensuring that each group stays on track and the discussions remain productive. They're there to keep things moving and to help any group that might be stuck.

To mix things up, consider different ways for groups to present their findings, like making a quick smartphone video, conducting an interview, or holding a panel discussion, if time allows.

These sessions are more than just a part of the event; they're a chance for attendees to dive deep into the event's theme and to build skills in presenting, teamwork, and problem-solving, making the whole experience educational and memorable.

How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive

4. Create interactive panel discussions with audience polls and question "up-voting"

Panel discussions are a mainstay of all business events. (I've written a book on the topic, Panel Discussions - The Ultimate Guide.) If you are putting on a discussion why not include a dynamic twist using audience polling software such as Slido or Mentimeter.  

Using their phones people can pose questions for panellists in real time. Or pose questions in advance and have the best ones up-voted by audience members. The audience can give their immediate feedback on discussion topics via polls or with word clouds.

This format not only keeps the panellists on their toes but also ensures that the content is directly relevant to the audience's interests. 

How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive

5.Choose your own adventure sessions

Offer attendees a more tailored event experience by running multiple sessions concurrently, each covering different aspects of the event's central theme. 

This allows attendees to pick the sessions they find most relevant to their interests and career goals. By offering a range of topics, everyone should discover something valuable and engaging. 

For example, at a leadership development conference, attendees might have the choice to explore sessions focusing on effective communication, team-building strategies, or the latest trends in leadership psychology. 

You may wish to repeat all the sessions so people can choose more than one. Offering attendees more control over their event experience will boost their engagement and enjoyment.

How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive

6. Guided networking can boost attendees' enjoyment and satisfaction at a business event.

Networking is one of the key reasons people attend events, they are looking to connect for business opportunities, sharing ideas or just finding like-minded people. 

However, all too often, not enough thought goes into making networking productive and not enough time is set aside for it.

Guided networking is an organised and effective way to help people connect. Unlike regular networking where people just chat over coffee, guided networking is more structured and purposeful.

Here’s what it involves:

  1. Structured activities: These might be speed networking sessions, where attendees have brief, timed conversations with a series of different people, or networking games that encourage interaction in a fun and relaxed setting.
  2. Facilitation: A host or facilitator guides the networking process, ensuring that everyone gets a chance to participate and meet a variety of people. This can be particularly helpful for introverted attendees or those new to the industry, who might find open networking settings intimidating.
  3. Purposeful Interactions: The activities are designed to ensure that attendees not only meet a larger number of people but also engage in more meaningful conversations than they might in a typical networking setting.
  4. Diverse connections: Guided networking helps attendees expand their professional networks by connecting them with people they might not naturally gravitate towards in a more casual setting.
How to make your corporate event more engaging and interactive

7. Create an "ad campaign" based on the theme of the event

This is a fun idea that sparks creativity and creates a buzz in the room. Separate attendees into groups with materials including flip chart paper and marker pens. Ask them to create an advertising campaign based on a theme from the event.

To add to the fun you could ask them to copy the style of a TV ad they've seen for a washing powder or beer commercial:

"If (your theme) was a beer and refreshed the parts other lagers don't reach, what would that TV ad look like?"

Get the groups to present or perform their TV campaigns for added fun.

Would you like to discuss how my keynotes, workshops and hosting could help create engagement at your event? Just book a FREE and no obligation discovery call.

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