Using Celebrity to Engage Attendees

One of the challenges of the hackathon format is keeping energy high and keeping the audience engaged. Using an emcee is a great solution. But how do you ensure your emcee isn’t talking too much and being ignored?

We’ve recently begun hiring celebrity impersonators on Fiverr to take-on the “housekeeping” announcements throughout the event. Attendees consistently had a big laugh when hearing a celebrity impersonator stress the importance of our code of conduct or who to call during a late-night emergency — in the voice of Yoda.

By taking a humorous approach to this somewhat boring information, attendees paid attention to the announcements. And when it came time for the emcee (me) to take the stage, I had the full attention of everyone.

These services can cost as little as $5. In a recent case, I asked the voice impersonator to assist me in coverting my script to “Yoda language” and requested rush service — which cost $125 for 20+ short recordings. I’m sure you’ll agree from the audio clips below it was a small price to pay for the amazing quality I received in return.

16 audio clips used during #ht7 recorded by a Yoda impersonator.

We always rent a great sound system and play upbeat music during non-working portions of our events. So in regard to implementation, we use the voice impersonations between songs or to kick-off a transition during an event.

What methods do you use to keep the energy up and your audience engaged at hackathons?

A single golf clap? Or a long standing ovation?

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