When we look at the state of the event industry in 2016, compared to twenty, ten, or even five years ago, there is no denying the changes are drastic. However, it’s not the flashy scenery that we’re referring to. Nor is it the once smoked-filled meeting rooms that are now only full of the aroma of beverages. We’re not even talking about the floors that were once covered in paper agendas now replaced by interactive mobile event apps (at least not today).
We’re talking about event audience expectations.
Think about it. The last time you went to event, what you expected to get from the event is drastically different than what you anticipated to receive just a few years back.
Addressing Vs. Engaging
When you went to a seminar or conference ten years ago, you probably expected to be taking a dozen pages’ worth of notes while a speaker threw information at you. You might remember to catch up with someone after the keynote to grab a cup of coffee and talk – but odds are you weren’t going to be speaking with others during the meeting, and absolutely not with the presenter.
Today, the entire speaker vs attendee model has changed.
When you attend an event or conference today, you anticipate a much more personal type of involvement – even if you’re sitting in a conference center with 1000 other attendees.
Thus, the task remains over any event professional's head when planning their events: keeping attendees engaged.
Three event engagement ideas:
1. Interactive Audience Questions
Gone are the days where event attendees only desire to be talked at. With the ever changing event industry, one of the biggest desires for every attendee is to feel involved. One way to do this? Interactive Audience Questions.
Interactive Audience Questions allow real time Q&A to take place. Whether there is time allowed during a speaker’s presentation or there is time reserved after, allowing audiences to interact with your event speaker in real time drives both engagement and delight.
MeetingPlay’s Ask a Question feature on our mobile event app allows even large conferences and events to become interactive and engaging. Whether your event chooses to do a moderated Q&A microphone session, or you want to integrate the question submission and voting feature – MeetingPlay’s mobile event app can help you do it all!
2. Live Polling (Audience Response Systems)
In addition to the value and power of interactive questions at your event, another great option is to include live polling in your event app.
Live polling can be done in several ways. Presenters can choose to integrate live polling questions and surveys directly into their PowerPoint presentations that can then sync with event attendees' mobile phones. After a brief allotment of time to answer the survey or questions, results are shown in real time on the presenter's screen.
This method of polling and surveying allows both speakers and event planners to ask questions and get responses without having to waste time or additional costs running around with a microphone.
Live polling is also a great option for event planners to ask questions of their event’s attendees in the moment. Event planners often want to better understand what an event attendee loved or didn’t love about an event – and yet by the time event attendees get home or back to their hotel rooms, they’re tired and forgetful about specific disappointments. Live polling allows event planners to engage and interact with their audience, when the questions and excitement are top of mind.
If you haven’t caught on by now, gone are the days where event audiences are content to be passive. Now more than ever, attendees want to engage with the keynote speaker through interactive questions, voice opinions through live polling and surveys, or merely look at events as a potential opportunity to network with other industry professionals.
MeetingPlay’s event gamification feature allows event attendees to earn points through completing tasks like answering polls, downloading assets, and posting photos - event planners work with their account managers in the app creation to decide how to customize gamification just for their event.
In addition to being a great way for event professionals to encourage event engagement and networking, gamification is an additional simulative way to drive event exhibitors and vendors traffic.
Attendees want to be involved in events now more than ever. With all the ways to keep attendees engaged, it is imperative for planners to implement strategies appropriate for the event's audience.