In my first blogpost about creative meeting design I suggested that standard meeting formats are the least supportive to increase engagement and participation of your audience. So how can you encourage them to get more involved? According to the Dutch game-expert David Nieborg, speaker at recent MPI EMEC in Montreux, gamification is an helpful technique. It means the implementation of game-like structures into your meeting format. In this post I will explain the principle behind gamification and mention some points you should consider before you start playing.
What are we talking about?
The term ‘gamification’ means that game mechanisms and dynamics are applied in a non-game context. Game mechanims are actions and items that make an activity playful. Those can be challenges, leaderboards, collectable goodies, points and levels. The factors that drive us to play a game are called game dynamics. Think about rewards, achievements or competition.
How does it work?
It is based on the psychological principle to provide positive reinforcement for a desired action. Imagine you want to teach your dog a new trick. He will be more willing to learn if you reward him with a biscuit. In the same way human beings are more willing to perform certain actions when they receive some kind of reward. Consider the giveaways and bonus-point systems that many companies offer
to their customers.
Incorporating games into your meeting can have many advantages. Playing is fun and therefore improves the engagement and participation of the audience. The challenge and the expectation of a reward excite the brain resulting in increased learning. If the game is played with a group it supports team-building and networking.
While some meetings would definitely benefit from some playful interaction, it might work distracting for others. Therefore you should ask yourself whether a game has an additional value for the goal of your meeting. Your audience plays the most important role in your game, thus make sure that they understand the purpose of your game and that they are willing to play with you. Keep in mind that every game can have unintended consequences or side effects and be prepared to deal with them.
What do you think?
Do you have any experience with gamified events? What do you think about that idea? I’d love to hear your opinion about it.