“Pump them up,” they say.
“High-energy,” they say.
“Stack the agenda,” they say.
“They’ll sleep when they get home,” they say.

“They” say a lot of things. We’ve said them, too. And we’ve learned it’s a thin line between energizing an audience and wearing them out, which is counter-productive to the goal of motivating the audience to take action.

Yes, designing a total sensory experience for event attendees is still the norm and it’s why many of us do what we do. Seeing attendees respond to and interact with event experiences we’ve designed and enjoying them as envisioned can be very rewarding. We tend to gravitate towards turning on an audience rather than turning them off.

However, while events are fun and engaging, from a company or an organization’s perspective, it’s the attendee behavior in the days, weeks and even months following a conference or event that really matters. If they return from an over-stimulating conference too tired or stressed to function effectively, the event may have been a blast to attend, but won’t have its intended overall strategic impact.

As counter-intuitive as it may feel, designing opportunities for quiet contemplation and mindfulness add depth to the event experience. After all, without a quiet counterpoint, sensory overload just becomes distracting noise. Here are some ideas to design opportunities for mindfulness into future events:

Finding that balance between generating excitement and overload is important to the success of any conference or event. In these days of being constantly connected and plugged in, opportunities to unplug offer a welcome respite. And while we still get excited about confetti, pyro, moving lights and other cool production elements that create energy, just as much design, creativity and production goes into orchestrating more contemplative moments and experiences that create a different type of energy. Let us put our expertise to work for you.