Whether you are an experienced event organiser or just starting out as an event professional I don’t need to tell you how many moving parts there are when it comes to successfully orchestrating large-scale conference or events.
Simply put the best events I have been involved with share the following core ingredients:
An dynamic and passionate team of orgainsers
Knowledgeable and experienced service providers
A fantastic venue
An investment in the right technologies
Most event organisers have all been there, doing everything on your own, juggling too many balls, eventually dropping one or all of them resulting in failure, unhappy customers and disappointed audiences.
Is technology enabling or disabling you? Could it become your secret weapon?
Just over a decade ago I identified that we could help. We could provide technology that could become the event organisers side-kick, their secret weapon. Our company uses technology to relieve some of the greatest challenges events face and allow organisers to focus on what matters most, creating those amazing events.
Having serviced thousands of events across 12 countries with hundreds of customers and walking alongside many event professionals we have learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t at events.
Some food for thought around typical challenges faced by every event organiser.
Delight your Audience with Real Engagement
So, the event starts, uh oh, your speaker is dull, now what? Your audience begins fidgeting and looking at their phones, they are bored, can you do something? In the words of Obama, Yes you can! Avoid this situation by using the right technology.
Make dull speakers seem brighter and great speakers rock stars using technology. Connect them with their audience using audience response technology or an event app. Change the one directional monologue into an engaging multi-directional conversation, it’ll make a HUGE difference, I promise!
Most people fear public speaking, roving mics are only really used by the small minority who are comfortable to do so. Consequently, you lose many potentially valuable insights and conversations. There are better other ways to create engagement.
Live Polls to the Rescue
The standard modus operandi in a presentation is for a speaker to ask questions and then three or four roving mics dart around. What if you could level the playing field and make participation fun?
How about inviting everyone anonymously to participate and answer questions where their responses are instantly displayed? Using an event app or wireless handheld devices your whole audience can respond in real-time, compare their answers, reflect on the experience and perhaps even start debates.
Real-time Comments and Questions for the Win
What about those who don’t have the confidence to ask the speaker questions directly? Using the ‘ask a question’ function in an event app can help. Using it the whole audience can pose questions and comments anonymously. The really cool feature of this is the option to ‘up vote’ your favourite comment or questions. This creates a really dynamic experience for everyone! By voting the audience organically prioritises what they feel is most important and the speaker can then address the actual most burning issues rather than assuming what’s important or unknown to them.
The Million Dollar Questions
How was your response rate to the last event survey you created? You’re lucky if you got 30% of the audience to actually complete are return the survey forms. Beyond that, someone still has to collect them all and begin the time consuming and costly exercise of data capturing, collating and building a report. Some don’t even bother as the required effort outweighs the value. With an event app, you can have active surveys running all the time, you’ll find some participants will complete them whilst exploring the event app on their own. You can also use automated direct notifications or emails with direct links to the surveys, this will increase your completion rate because it’s effortless and easy to do. Even better you can incentivise the completion of the feedback with surprise giveaways or run a competition for those who complete the surveys.
Give the Event Life before its Begins and long after it Ends
Have you ever calculated the cost of your event per hour? It’s a sure way to raise your blood pressure and anxiety! When you use an event app you automatically extend the longevity of your event. Firstly, you begin communicating way before it starts. Develop your pre-event strategy, communicate and publish what’s most important and be sure to track open rated and page views. Once you send out the first communication everyone installs your event app, effectively placing your brand on every participants personal device. How’s that for exposure!
Post event the event app remains on everyone’s device as a point of reference and a great resource. It becomes a digital directory of all who attended, photos of newly made acquaintances and business prospects. It contains the presentation content, records of conversations, photos and shared memories of the experience.
Your Event Ninja, One Stop Solution and Secret Weapon!
The Event App isn’t purely to engage with an audience and collate data, it’s far more useful for you as an event organizer. Think of it as your program on steroids with a truly interactive functionality, a mobile information kiosk customised for each person that fits in their pocket that makes everything easier, it is your ninja sidekick, your secret weapon!
Let’s look at some key benefits:
1. Event Registration and RSVPs are all efficiently managed digitally with integration into the event app, from the moment you first connect with your audience you can already start measuring their interaction with your meeting and driving behaviours.
2. Digital Agenda, Speaker Bios, Mapsand all pertinent Event Information is conveniently accessible on everyone’s personal device. No more delegates desperately looking for the event organiser to ask them questions, they just consult the info kiosk in their pocket!
3. It’s good for the environment. No need for those expensive printed programs! For just about the same print budget you can have an Event App! The horror of a last-minute changes are eliminated, no more printing inserts, just update the Event App and send out a notification!
4. Gamification. Use a strategy that taps into some of the core drivers of our human behaviour that revolve around status, achievement, and rewards. Create games that help you achieve event objectives. Use the event app to draw attention to certain sets of information or content. Create games and competitions based on the need of the particular client such as scavenger hunts, quizzes and networking activities which promote communication amongst delegates. Download our Ultimate Guide to Gamification here to learn more.
5. Communication. Delegates can use the app to connect with other delegates, join chat rooms to discuss topical issues and participate in live polls, ask speakers questions, answer surveys and read material ahead of time at their leisure. Event alerts notify guests of any important information when they need to know it.
6. Your Digital Business Card. It becomes a digital business card for them and everybody else who’s there, just like a phone book but now with photos! After the event, you can continue conversations, with the ability to direct message participants and speakers.
If you are in the business of planning events, there is no better assistant than a reliable piece of technology to keep track of all these moving parts. It becomes your one-stop-list where every single piece of the puzzle is collated and allows you to put together the memorable and flawless events your clients crave!
Husband, Father, Entrepreneur, Event Professional and Problem Solver passionate about life, people, education, and South Africa.
Most of my day is spent with the team at www.participate.co.za, I'm a silent partner to my wife's online retail business www.kidscargo.co.za and recently teamed up with Lisa Illingworth to launch Future_ProofSA teaching kids how to become entrepreneurs. I live in the wonderful city of Johannesburg and am blessed to be surrounded by family and friends who I love.
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