It’s not uncommon to hear people groan out loud when they see a long line. As event producers, we do everything possible to control the queue, but sometimes lines are unavoidable. So what can you do to decrease frustration and make waiting in line more enjoyable for your guests? Here are a few tips for making people feel better, or even happy, about waiting.

According to the experts in queuing psychology, it isn’t the wait time that counts, it’s how a person experiences the wait. One way to make the wait seem shorter is to eliminate “empty time” by building excitement and providing diversions in the line.

  • Hand out snacks or interactive premiums to amuse guests while they wait.
  • Install TV monitors and run branded programming and videos.
  • Have an emcee interact with the line to stimulate interest and build anticipation for the event (like a warm-up act).
  • Capitalize on the captive audience and use the wait time to collect data on iPads.
  • Task your most outgoing brand ambassadors to monitor line traffic, answer questions, and to serve as general distractions.
  • Play games or hold quickie trivia contests. Make sure the content is relevant to your brand. A perfect opportunity to integrate your story.
  • Hand out flyers. Reading is a great way to make time fly, plus it’s another opportunity to promote your products and services.


  • Studies show that we’re much more patient when we know what’s going on. That applies to most things in life.  With lines, it’s very straightforward.
  • Provide clear, unambiguous signage that shows where the line starts and what people can expect when they get to the end of it.
  • Instead of making guests wonder if they’ll be waiting three minutes or three years, let them know the wait time. Make sure to give the maximum estimate to avoid disappointment.

There, see? That didn’t take long at all.

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