Confex 2015: Successful event design is about play, place and performance

Lanham spoke on the final day of International Confex
Lanham spoke on the final day of International Confex

Michelle Lanham, senior lecturer in events management at Leeds Beckett University, has said play, place and performance are key to a successful immersive experience.

Lanham explained her ideas yesterday (19 February) in the final session of the marketing and communications programme at International Confex. Her session began by scaring participants into thinking they would be taking part in a karaoke session.

She explained her aim was to demonstrate how it is difficult to get participants completely involved in an event when they don’t feel like they belong. "It’s important to add a sense of playfulness within in the structure of your event to create a state of flow – this is essential to the experience," she explained.

"Flow is when guests have a hyperfocus on the task at hand, lose track of time and are in a state of consciousness that occurs when an activity in a challenge, but still doable," Lanham said. She used a recent ball pit room activation in London, which could be hired for corporate meetings, to demonstrate how "adult play" can be conducive to focus and immersion.

Lanham also explained how space and place should be used effectively to create high levels of aesthetic sensitivity and create meaning. Finally, she added that guests should be involved in tailoring the route of an event to reach optimum levels of immersion.

"You have to see your audience as co-producers to appropriate the meanings of your event," she said. "Sitting back passively is not going to enrich people’s experience and create high levels of memory. How often do you think your events are ‘to’ people, rather than ‘with’ them?"

More Confex 2015: Big Cat Group forecasts positive future for experiential

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