5 Simple Tactics to Gamify Virtual Meetings and In-Person Events

I don’t know about you, but personally, I have a hard time sitting in a general session listening to speakers go on and on and on. If I am not sitting near the front the whole thing turns into blah, blah, blah. And, my mind starts to wander.  In virtual meetings, it’s even worse. 

However, if there is a way for me to participate in the session, I am much more likely to stay connected to the content and the message.  

That’s where event gamification can help tremendously. Event gamification creates a fun way to gamify virtual meetings and let attendees participate in the session.

We have created thousands of games for different event audiences. Here are five different event gamification tactics that improve attendee engagement.  Consider one for your next virtual meeting or in-person event. The tactics will work both online and in-person. 

Tactic #1: Organize A Group Trivia Game

During COVID, Group trivia games were the most popular way to gamify a virtual meeting. Group trivia worked because it created a shared, memorable experience among the virtual attendees. If you are looking for high-impact-minimal-effort game then a group trivia game is the way to go.

There are many ways to implement a group trivia game:

  • Team gameplay vs Individual gameplay
  • Single trivia game vs Multiple quizzes with cumulative leaderboard
  • Emcee driven game vs Play at your own pace

Everyone cheered – on the inside – when Sally surged past Joe on the final answer to claim the victory.  Players laughed together when Ben from Accounting left his speaker on and his son yelled “It’s B dad! it’s B! Press the answer!” We all learned together when Steve in IT (again forgetting to mute himself) said “Hey Google – where is Machu Picchu?”

At in-person meetings –  all you need to do is put a big leaderboard up on the big screen of your general session during the walk out and give attendees a link to the game. You will be shocked at the high number of people who play and play. You will get tens of thousands of questions answered. No joke!

Knowing that people will play, the key to your success will be aligning your trivia questions with the meeting content. If you use a product like SocialPoint you will be able to do two things: (1) create a set of trivia questions around your event’s learning objectives and report on it. In addition, (2) you will be able to measure an individual’s performance and do an analysis of the individual questions they answered correctly and incorrectly.

Plus, this type of game does not require staff onsite, it’s easy to set up, you can brand the game, the player instructions are simple, it integrates into your event app AND it doesn’t require general session time.  If you are just looking for a fun afternoon of trivia or a game to play during a break – We have lots and lots of ready-to-play trivia themes and trivia question sets

This is very simple event gamification. You can easily do this in your event.

Learn about SocialPoint’s interactive trivia solution

Tactic #2:  Use Spin to Win for Prize Drawings

How do you pick winners for your drawings? Is there any drama and excitement?

Don’t overlook the power of a spin to win virtual prize wheel to attract lots of attention in a ballroom or on the trade show floor. Our trade show clients sometimes get long lines in their booth with visitors waiting for their chance to spin to win.   And, our event clients wake up sleepy audiences on day 3 with spin to win prize drawings.

Spin to win works as you might imagine. Using SocialPoint, you have ½ of a wheel visible so you can have an unlimited number of prizes. The wheel will randomly pick a winner based on the inventory available. If you are doing a drawing and the people’s names are your prizes — your inventory quantity will be 1. The wheel can be triggered with a button, through web forms or from one of your event production crew. Then, the prize wheel will spin, prizes will go by and one will eventually emerge as the winner. 

Here are two effective ways to use a spin to win prize wheel:

Name Wheel:  Using Names instead of Prizes

One client told us recently that the Spin to Win created a lot of excitement when picking winners from a drawing. She said that the virtual prize wheel woke up the whole ballroom at 9:30 in the morning after a long night of socializing. People kept looking for their name to see if it would pop up as the winner.

Golden Ticket:  Names Under Seat. Limited Prizes.

Stick a handful of golden tickets under seats in the ballroom. Let attendees discover them and come up to the front. Then, bring out a ginormous spin to win wheel (or display it on the big screen if you are going digital). Let the attendees spin to win a prize. Once they have won, then you can allow them to take the prize or spin again to see if they can get something better. Of course….the second prize could be worse too.  This format adds a little excitement to your morning.  

Learn about even more uses of the Virtual Prize Wheel in events by clicking here

Tactic #3: Launch a Digital Trade Show Passport Game for Exhibitor Engagement

The digital trade show passport game is a simple way to drive attendees to your trade show floor and into exhibitor booths. Using SocialPoint you can reward points for participation, enter players into prize drawings or give them spins on the virtual prize wheel.  

For example, players could spin the virtual prize wheel after visiting 10 booths and then earn a second spin after visiting another 20 booths. 

 Another advantage of using a digital trade show passport game is that you will get good data to share with your sponsors (and exhibitors) about the people who visited their booth and the game’s performance.

Click here if you need help giving your Trade Show Passport Game an Extreme Makeover with Event Gamification Software.


Tactic #4: Use a Trivia Bar to Drive Attendees to the Show Floor

If option 3 didn’t sound good to you, then you will want to read about the trivia bar!

One afternoon we received a call from an insurance industry executive. She wanted to know how to get her sales people (independent reps) to go to the trade show area at her national sales meeting.  She had used trade show passports in the past, but she wanted something more interactive and content-oriented than just stamping passports and entering people’s names into a drawing.

We set up a trivia bar with a large leaderboard on the show floor.  There was a prize for the top score. The leaderboard was very public. The exhibitors (or sponsors) provided the content for the game. Attendees who visit sponsor booths have a leg up on attendees who don’t visit the booths.

Since that first event – sales leaders from tech, healthcare and other industries have used this tactic in their national sales meetings and customer events. It’s a simple, yet effective solution. 

Using this game, you can expect the following:

(1) More attendees will hang around on your show floor to play the game.

(2) Connect attendees to sponsor/exhibitor content and marketing messages.

(3) Encourage booth traffic visits.

(4) Summary reports that provide high level participation metrics and detailed by sponsor reporting on sponsor questions.


Tactic #5: Gamify Your Entire Virtual Meeting or In-Person Conference

Perhaps you want to weave gamification throughout your entire event. In that case, you probably want to do three things:

  • Reinforce learning objectives
  • Change Behavior
  • Make your virtual meeting or in-person event fun

Players earn points for completing challenges to encourage participants. Then, they can gain instant rewards, drawing entries, and spins on the virtual prize wheel. For competitive groups, the leaderboards and team leaderboards drive participation. 

If the challenges are designed around the learning objectives and the behaviors you want to create, then the game will be fun and help you achieve your business objectives simultaneously. 

Using an Attendee Participation game, you can expect the following: 

  1. Engagement across all 2-3 days of your event. 
  2. Massive amount of data on attendee understanding of learning objectives.
  3. Data on booth visits and sponsor engagement.
  4. Integration with your event app and virtual event platform.  

If you need challenge ideas for your next sales kick-off or national sales meeting, click here


Final Event Gamification Thoughts

If you are looking for a way to gamify virtual meetings or create fun in-person meetings, any of the ideas above will improve your event. For between $100 – $2,000, you can have a game up and running quickly.

Also, beware of the pitfalls that have trapped some of your colleagues in the past.  Please avoid these event gamification mistakes!

If you need help picking a game for you event – then try our new Game Selector tool.

Written by

Samuel J. Smith is a thought leader, researcher, speaker and award winning innovator on event technology. In 2011, BizBash Magazine added Sam to its annual innovators list. Since then, Sam has won awards from Exhibitor Magazine, IBTM World, RSVP MN, International Live Events Association and MPI for innovation in event technology.