The main attribute behind gamification is that games can teach us about how to make our normal life more engaging. Events are a perfect area to introduce gamification because they put an unknown group together for a short period of time to learn and connect with each other.

For the event planner, the aim is not to turn the event into a game, but instead use the principles that work in games, to create more engagement for event attendees, staff, sponsors and exhibitors.

Have you ever found yourself listening to a speaker at an event and realized that you have totally “zoned out”? That trance like state that we sometimes enter when watching TV or even driving a car. Our mind wanders and we start to plan the evening meal, or our weekend activities with our famalies.

Attendees can easily be “zoned out” through a conference, barely listening, not retaining much and wandering aimlessly around the exhibition hall, focused on the next tea or lunch break.

Gaming engagement can be the answer to alleviating this trance, and lets attendees become part of the whole experience, participating and learning at the same time.

Playing games is a great way to create more active delegate participation. Rewarding aspects of games stimulate attendees to think, become more engaged and participate on a higher level than before in the following ways:

Social media reach – increasing the number of tweets and social media interaction during the event

  • – More networking, more connections made
  • – Engaging with exhibitors on a more interactive level
  • – Increased attendance at sessions, especially during quiet periods, like the last session of the day

Once you have created your objective, you can start developing the kind of game-play that supports it.

There are tons of new games and apps entering the market that are specifically designed to “gamify” your event by creating interesting challenges, leader-boards and quests. And who doesn’t like competing to win a prize, or see their name on the top of the scoreboard? I know I do.

Scavenger or treasure hunt, audience quiz – “fastest finger first” or group exercises to win prizes are just a few great ideas.

If you are going to use gamification it needs to be creative and be a fully an integrated part of your event, with involvement from speakers and staff as well.

Gamification does not need to be expensive or super technical, for example, there are tons of great networking games that require nothing more than a pen and pencil.

If you are interested in gamifying your next event – check out the following apps for a few ideas on what is possible: