Balancing Fun & Education: Gamification – A “Secret Sauce” for Successful Corporate Conferences

Whether you’re hosting a user conference, industry-focused educational conference or an in-house training event, keeping your attendees engaged needs to be your number one priority. And with technology evolving to drive ever shorter attention spans within the workforce, keeping them tuned-in to your event program is more of a challenge than ever. So how can you integrate elements into your conference format that keep your audience focused on message, from start to finish?

In short, make it all part of a game. Gamification, the process of applying game-related principles — particularly those relating to user experience and engagement — to non-game contexts, has been a successful technique in education and learning for decades. Gamification strategies involve facilitating learning through play, immediate feedback, mastery, social connection, problem solving and progress indicators. More recently, gamification examples and applications have evolved across healthcare, technology, commerce and media brands as a successful means of motivating employees, creating healthy competition among teams, generating buzz and social proof, and encouraging customer loyalty, among other benefits.

Photos by Colson Griffith Photography –


A corporate event is the perfect venue to use gamification, because elements of the game can be customized to each brand’s unique set of messages, culture and in-house “lingo”. In addition, games help break larger audiences into smaller subsets, facilitating better networking and group conversations and engagement. Social connections at corporate conferences are enhanced as the “fun factor” encourages a more relaxed break for attendees between sessions and increases opportunities for cross-team bonding.

Games are also a great way to increase movement and physical activity even if they occur indoors in event venues rather than outdoors. By creating an “event within the event”, they stimulate new thinking and problem solving, which has been shown to increase attendee feelings of accomplishment and mastery and higher levels of meeting satisfaction.

Games can also be used to create “anniversary-able” annual events and competitions that employees look forward to every year and create pre-event buzz and teambuilding. For example, at Zendesk’s annual company picnic, the brand hosts a highly-competitive soccer tournament that is legendary across the brand’s departmental teams.

Gamification also works well integrated into corporate conferences using event apps where attendees are asked to stop listening and take action during the event program by answering survey or quiz questions on the fly or by providing feedback that is then streamed back live to attendees. Such real time, participative activity breaks up speaker presentations into engaging “dialogue” with the audience that significantly improves audience satisfaction and retention.

If you want to inject some new energy via games into your next corporate conference or event, we hope you’ll tap into our expertise at Anna Marie Events. Just give us a call and we’d be happy to help.