You don’t just want people to come to your events, you want them to engage, participate and really get the most out of them.
However, when addressing larger numbers of attendees it can be hard to maintain that small and friendly environment that facilitates discussion, feedback and fun.
Technology can help you regain that level of personal involvement by making it easy for your audience to ask questions, vote in straw polls and even play games – no matter how many people are in the auditorium.
Catchbox is the world’s first throwable wireless microphone. When someone has a question, rather than having to pick your way through the crowd to reach them with a normal mic, you simply throw them the Catchbox. The Catchbox is padded so it doesn’t matter if your throw isn’t perfect – it won’t hurt anyone!
Not only is the Catchbox a much quicker way to deliver a microphone, it’s also much more fun. The audience member has to play catch with the presenter or a fellow attendee, which immediately gets them involved with the proceedings. Engaging their body to reach out and grab the mic acts as an icebreaker before they have to speak and can lead to much higher levels of engagement.
This was recently demonstrated at InfoComm 2016, a large AV event in Las Vegas. Catchbox devices were used at a number of educational and interactive sessions held throughout the six-day show.
Session host Chuck Espinoza, says: “I would say we had 10 to 15 times more student engagement than last year when we weren’t using Catchbox for our educational sessions. The fact that I could look to a student who was hesitant to participate, and throw the mic to them, made a huge difference. They could answer, and throw it to the next person in line. It was no longer an interaction between just me and one attendee – it wasn’t ping pong any more, it was volleyball.”
2) Crowd Mics
If your audience is too big for throwing microphones, Crowd Mics – an app that turns the audience’s phones into wireless microphones – could be the solution.
The app works in conjunction with an ‘ATOM’ box that plugs into the wired network and receives the audio, so the number of users you can connect is only dependent on your venue’s Wi-Fi capabilities.
The ATOM box is connected to the sound system, while the moderator can control who speaks from anywhere in the room using an iPad app interface. It’s essentially like installing hundreds of wireless mics in one room.
But the Crowd Mics app does more than just allow attendees to speak, it also lets them make text comments and respond to live polls. CMO and co-founder Sean Holladay, says: “The combination of these three features gives everyone an opportunity to engage at their own comfort level.”
3) Live Insights
Live Insights is another tool that lets audience members respond to polls, answer questions and give feedback through their own smartphones and tablets.
They simply tap their screens to register their opinion (e.g. yes, no, strongly agree, disagree), rate something, or answer multiple-choice questions. Real-time results can be displayed on the screen, integrated into PowerPoint, and pushed to participants’ devices.
As well as a great way to measure audience sentiment and the collective opinion, it also enables presenters to be reactive to their audience and tailor their presentation accordingly. They can launch a poll or ask questions as they go along, facilitating a truly interactive session, where everyone can have their say.
Earlier this year, Live Insights was used by The Economist at an event in New York. Tamsin Parkin, operations director for Economist Events Americas, says: “One of the things that Live Insights allowed us to do was retake control of the polling and have it happen in real-time. It was pretty seamless and certainly a great experience for people in the room to be able to see the results of their interactions in real-time.”
Poken’s sensors can make your event environment digitally interactive. Organisers can place the sensors anywhere, allowing attendees to collect all sorts of information as they progress around the venue simply by touching their smart badges on the readers.
The content, such as brochures, reports and business cards, is then sent directly to the attendee’s email address. Delegates can exchange contact information with exhibitors and each other with a single touch of their hand-shaped badges (they call it a digital handshake).
As well as stimulating exploration and encouraging networking, Poken can be used to add an element of gamification to events. Attendees are incentivised to attend sessions, take part in activities and collect information by offering them the chance to earn rewards. Attendees can then use their Poken to log on to tablet computers around the venue and view how many points they’ve collected or badges they’ve earned during the day. This helps to create friendly competition between attendees and drives up participation.
Used at the Boy Scouts of America’s Order of the Arrow Conference, which hosted 15,000 Scouts, Poken technology facilitated an incredible 7 million interactions!
Glisser turns any presentation into a social conversation. Slides can be shared live, direct to your audience’s mobile devices. In turn, audience members can like, comment on, or share those slides to their own social networks.
The technology offers improved social media buzz around what your keynote speakers say and enables them to gather feedback on their presentations.
Attendees can also download the slides for later reference or to share with colleagues back at the office. There’s polling and Q&A functionality, too. But perhaps the best thing about Glisser is that it does not require attendees to download an app. They just access a simple web URL, so anyone connected to the internet – on any device – can easily get involved.