Encouraging People to Reconnect at Events Without Digital Devices or Phones: 8 Activity Ideas

In an era dominated by smartphones and constant connectivity, encouraging people to put down their devices and engage in real-world interactions at events can be challenging yet profoundly rewarding. Reconnecting with others face-to-face can enhance the overall experience, foster genuine connections, and create lasting memories.

Here’s a comprehensive guide on how to encourage people to reconnect at events without digital devices or phones.networking-event-1

1. Set the Expectation Early

Communicate the Vision: From the moment attendees receive their invitations, clearly communicate the event's intention to promote face-to-face interactions. Highlight the benefits of disconnecting from digital devices, such as increased engagement, deeper conversations, and a more immersive experience.

Example: Include a note in the invitation: "This event is a tech-free zone. We encourage you to leave your devices behind and enjoy the opportunity to connect with others on a deeper level."


Provide Clear Guidelines: Outline specific rules regarding device usage. For example, designate phone-free zones or specific times when devices should be put away.

Example: "Please refrain from using your phones during the event. Designated phone-check areas will be available for urgent needs."


2. Create an Engaging Environment

Interactive Activities: Plan activities that require participation and collaboration, making it easier for people to forget about their devices. Examples include team-building exercises, group games, workshops, and interactive installations.

Example: Host a scavenger hunt where participants must work together to solve clues and complete tasks, promoting teamwork and communication.


Engage the Senses: Design the event space to be visually and physically stimulating. Use vibrant decor, live music, and interactive art installations to create an immersive atmosphere that captivates attention.

Example: Create a sensory garden with various plants, textures, and scents, encouraging attendees to explore and engage their senses.


3. Foster Meaningful Connections

Icebreaker Activities: Start with icebreaker activities that help attendees get to know each other in a fun and relaxed manner. This sets the tone for open and friendly interactions throughout the event.

Example: Use a "human bingo" game where attendees must find others who match specific criteria (e.g., someone who has traveled to a particular country or shares a common hobby).


Facilitate Small Group Interactions: Arrange seating and activities in a way that encourages small group interactions. Smaller groups make it easier for individuals to engage in meaningful conversations and form connections.

Example: Organize roundtable discussions on various topics of interest, allowing attendees to join groups that align with their passions.


4. Offer Alternatives to Digital Devices

Analog Entertainment: Provide alternatives to digital entertainment, such as board games, card games, and physical activities. These options offer a nostalgic and engaging way to spend time without relying on screens.

Example: Set up a game corner with classic board games and puzzles, inviting attendees to challenge each other and have fun together.


Creative Workshops: Offer hands-on workshops that require active participation, such as art classes, cooking sessions, or DIY crafts. These activities keep attendees busy and provide opportunities for learning and collaboration.

Example: Organize a pottery workshop where attendees can create their own pieces while chatting and sharing techniques.


5. Incorporate Mindfulness and Well-being

Mindfulness Sessions: Include mindfulness and relaxation sessions, such as yoga, meditation, or guided breathing exercises. These activities encourage attendees to be present in the moment and connect with themselves and others.

Example: Start the event with a guided meditation session to help attendees center themselves and prepare for meaningful interactions.


Health and Wellness Stations: Set up stations offering healthy snacks, herbal teas, and wellness tips. This promotes a holistic approach to well-being and provides a natural break from digital distractions.

Example: Create a "wellness corner" with comfortable seating, healthy refreshments, and informative materials on stress reduction and mindfulness.


6. Encourage Storytelling and Sharing

Story Circles: Organize storytelling sessions where attendees can share personal experiences, anecdotes, or talents. This fosters a sense of community and encourages participants to open up and connect on a deeper level.

Example: Host an open mic night where attendees can perform music, read poetry, or share stories.


Memory Walls: Create a memory wall where attendees can write messages, draw pictures, or post photos (taken with instant cameras) that capture their experiences at the event.

Example: Provide a large canvas or board where attendees can leave their mark, creating a collaborative piece of art that reflects the event's spirit.


7. Incentivize Device-Free Engagement

Rewards and Recognition: Offer incentives for staying device-free, such as raffle tickets, prizes, or special recognition. This encourages attendees to embrace the event's tech-free philosophy.

Example: Hand out raffle tickets for various activities and announce a grand prize winner at the end of the event.


Gamify the Experience: Turn the device-free challenge into a game by awarding points for participation in activities and interactions. Track progress on a leaderboard and offer rewards for top performers.

Example: Use a points system where attendees earn points for each activity they participate in and for engaging with others, culminating in a prize ceremony.


8. Lead by Example

Event Staff and Hosts: Ensure that all event staff and hosts adhere to the device-free policy. Their behavior sets the tone for attendees and demonstrates commitment to the event's goals.

Example: Train staff to be proactive in encouraging attendees to put away their devices and engage with the event activities.


Influence through Ambassadors: Invite influential community members or guests to champion the device-free initiative. Their endorsement can motivate others to follow suit.

Example: Ask local influencers or respected community leaders to speak about the benefits of disconnecting and share their own experiences.



Encouraging people to reconnect at events without digital devices or phones requires thoughtful planning and creative strategies. By setting clear expectations, creating engaging environments, fostering meaningful connections, and providing alternatives to digital entertainment, you can create an event that is both memorable and impactful.

The key is to make the experience so engaging and fulfilling that attendees willingly put down their devices and immerse themselves in the moment, forming genuine connections and lasting memories.

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