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From Ordinary to Extraordinary: The Psychology of Events For a successful event, it's essential to grasp what resonates with attendees.


To deliver a successful event, knowing what makes attendees tick is crucial. This means putting more emphasis on the psychology of your event than anything else—understanding what your audiences want, their motivations and behaviours, and cognitive functions.

By taking a people-centric approach to your event strategies, you provide space for attendees to make connections, learn, and grow. And that's what makes an event memorable. So let's explore the psychology behind events and why focusing on cognitive functions is the key to event success.

The Psychology Behind Memorable Events

There's a reason why certain events are more memorable. Those that take a neuroscience approach, getting to the root of their audience's wants, needs, and behaviours, are the ones that leave a lasting impression.

All people want to build meaningful connections, foster new relationships, and create a sense of belonging. They also want to show the best version of themselves in situations, whether that's learning new skills, deepening their knowledge, or expanding their network with new connections. So create opportunities for attendees to do just that.

Strategies include small group discussions, pre-event networking opportunities and icebreakers, awards or competitions, paired exercises, and regular feedback discussions. Even asking attendees to wear a name tag with one or two interesting details about themselves is an easy way to initiate conversation with others and provide opportunities to build new relationships.

By creating space for your audience to engage with others, actively participate in sessions, and receive recognition, you'll invoke certain positive cognitive emotions. These emotions are what create lasting memories.

Understanding What Makes People Tick

Knowing your audience is fundamental to understanding their wants and needs. Before planning any event, have a clear idea of who your target audience is, their demographics, behaviours, interests, likes, and dislikes. This information can be used to personalise your event, creating experiences tailored to individual preferences. That way, your audience feels a greater sense of belonging, which can lead to more positive engagement and experiences.

Event planners should also pay attention to cognitive biases, especially for making decisions. Triggering an emotional response before encouraging attendees to make a decision will likely be more effective.

For instance, providing incentives (reward andrecognition strategy), highlighting a sense of urgency, talking about the emotional rather than rational benefits, or leaning into the fear of missing out (FOMO) concept.

Tap into attendees' cognitive functions by using active participation within sessions. Tasks such as live Q&As, polls, discussion groups, and small group exercises are hugely beneficial for solidifying learning and increasing engagement. You can even add gamification, such as trivia or virtual reality (VR), to increase the fun element and create an even more positive experience. This is especially important for hybrid events, where in-person contact and interaction aren't guaranteed.

Deeper, Psychological Connections for Successful Events

Creating memorable events goes way beyond an attractive venue or well-known speakers. To deliver real impact, you need to invoke emotions from your attendees. Event strategies that put the cognitive functions and psychological habits of attendees first are the ones that are most successful. To help you plan an event to remember, check out leading EMS idloom, the all-in-one event management platform with advanced tools to take your events to the next level.