It’s the beginning of your annual conference. The conference you’ve spent nearly a year of your time planning… The conference that needs to summarize last year’s numbers… to motivate your employees… and to gather feedback to improve next year’s business…
So when the first speaker comes on stage,peers out at stagnant eyes, and kicks things off with, “I know you’re all tired this morning, but…”
You sigh knowing that despite your hard work, this year’s conference is going to be just like the last 10.
And it’s not just the first speaker… It’s the speaker right before lunch who mentions, “I know you’re all getting hungry, so…” The speaker right after lunch that assumes, “I know you’re all tired from lunch, but…” The speaker mid-afternoon who begins, “I know you’ve been here awhile, and…” The last speaker of the day who says, “I know you want to get home, because…”
Don’t assume your audience is not engaged. And don’t let your speaker’s insinuate the same. Rather, take the necessary measures to make sure everyone is interacting and engaged.
After all, this event is extremely important for everyone’s business goals. And the audience’s learning plays a huge role in its success. So pull out all the stops.
Here’s what you can do to drive engagement when using an event app at your next event.
1. Get the audience involved
With an engaging, interactive event app, you can let the audience determine the content through:
- Live voting. Use the event app’s polling tool and ask the audience questions on-the-fly. As attention spans wane, push a question, get real-time results and project them onto the main screen so that everyone’s involved in the activity.
- Brainstorming. You can engage attendees to generate content with the event app’s brainstorming feature. Participants can either ask questions or come up with ideas, and then group works together to organize ideas into effective strategies.
- Putting attendees in charge of creating slides or presentations. Tools in the event app, like the ability to put digital “pins” on slides, give the audience the ability to take control of slides.
2. Use gamification and add a flare of fun to the event
Take event content from drab to fab with gamification. Here’s a few ideas:
- Trivia. Create a trivia game to engage attendees and ask them questions about the company’s history, brand messages, strategies or other attendees.
- Challenges. Challenge the audience to “meet the most people” or “meet someone new”. An event app can track this data by allowing attendees to scan each other’s business cards to make formal connections, or organize a meeting at random.
- Photo stories. Let the audience create mock-up company scenarios with the photo story feature. Teams can role play an idea and use their creativity to come up with a comic strip (that includes the ability to insert pictures, speech bubbles, and digital accessories) to reveal their answer.
3. Go with an interactive meeting layout
The event app easily encourages discussion by all attendees and involvement from individuals who wouldn’t normally speak out or raise their hand. Here’s how:
- The fishbowl format. Manage larger group discussions with the fishbowl approach. Identify a group of participants to act as panel members who will engage in a discussion about hot topics or controversial ideas. The “listeners” take careful notes as the discussion goes on, and then eventually the roles reverse, with the panel members becoming the listeners, and vice-versa.
- Speed meetings. Kind of life speed dating but for the business world, speed meetings encourage people to move about the room and meet new people. It can be as simple as a 30-second introduction before moving onto the next person. Or you can prompt people to give precise information, such as their name, where they’re from, their role and what they hope to get from the event.
- Changing seats. Nothing gets people interacting better than prompting them to leave their comfortable seat next to people they know and move to a table full of opportunity.
- Bean bags. Get the audience out of uncomfortable, formal chairs and move the group to a bean-bag setting. The meeting layout alone invites a relaxing conversation.
Don’t let your hard planning go to waste by leaving audience engagement to chance.
Get your audience highly involved and invested in your next conference with an event app that promotes interaction, collaboration, and team building. Put the audience in control of content and presentations through live voting and brainstorming. Add fun by using gamification features like trivia, challenges and photo stories. Finally, interactive meeting layouts like the fishbowl format, speed meetings, changing seats and bean bags turn a boring chairs-in-a-row meeting into a lively, fun, engaging environment where the audience is invested.
How do you encourage audience interaction when using event-app technology?
Inspiring, memorable, engaging — these are just a few of the words that should mark your speaker presentation.
Knowing what the final product should look like and getting there are two different things, however.
If you’ve ever tried to plan a conference as an event professional and had the actual experience fall flat, you already know that.
So just how do you get from lofty presentation goals to implementation to reality?
It all comes down to audience interaction — the key to improving speaker presentations. Here’s some tried-and-true advice.
1. Give them control
A passive audience is a bored audience. Not even your well-rehearsed presentation can compensate for an audience that’s not involved in the presentation. And you definitely need more than a PowerPoint.
With an event app, you can get the audience involved. Instead of sitting back and listening to a presentation, offering attendees a way to participate via a word cloud shifts the event into participatory mode.
So what’s a word cloud? Your event app lets you ask a question or present a topic, and participants can “vote” on the app for the word or phrase that best reflects their experience or desire. The on-stage event screen populates with the words attendees select, and the most-popular words appear as the largest words on the screen.
Another innovative way to engage the audience, with line voting your speaker turns attendees loose on the event app, which offers several answers to a question. The attendees then select their answer and the event screen populates with the results.
With these methods, answers remain anonymous, giving those less inclined to speak out a way to get involved in the discussion.
2. Get them involved
It’s a challenge to involve a large audience in a presentation — but not if you have a unique, digital way to involve them in the process.
Get your group in an interactive mode with a brainstorming activity. Here, participants generate ideas and ask questions. The group then works together to organize the ideas and present results to advance the discussion.
3. Use cool technology
The Sparkup event and conferences solution provides all of the innovative technology you need to turn a run-of-the-mill speaker presentation into an event that wows the audience. With an engaged audience, you’ll get the outcome you’ve always wanted from your events.
The difference between knowing what you need to convey at an event and actually getting that message across lies in the technology you use. Sparkup's event solution turns a boring, passive speaker presentation into one that will have your attendees talking — for a long time.