Meetings are considered ‘successful’ when they find a way to connect with their audience. As time moves on, event planners and event speakers are looking for more ‘path less traveled’ ways of making a connection and holding their audience’s attention. In the age of digital technology, we’re always looking for new ways to enhance meetings and tradeshows to make them more interactive and “mobile.”
When we think ‘interactive’ for meetings, we think of endless possibilities. With the advent and popularity of smartphones, more applications and mobile sites are popping up to allow attendees to get the information they want while staying mobile. Audience members can interact with one another and get the event’s content before the meeting even starts. They can see the layout of the facility and get directions, facts about presenters, and so much more. Once the meeting starts, participants can use apps like Unsocial, EventKaddy, and QuickMobile to discover new contacts based on proximity and shared business interests. Some of our clients are creating custom programs for these services driving their guests to a controlled site while others are using third-party vendors. Then, they can exchange information and connect with a message or phone call. This tech also allows attendees to access the meeting agenda, speaker bios, site maps, and even real-time event notifications.
QR, or quick response, codes – those odd-looking square pixilated bar codes – create a fun atmosphere for event attendees. Using their smartphones, people can scan the QR code and be directed to a specific website with content related to the event or speaker. QR codes can also create scavenger hunts and games for the guests, as well as gather polling information.
Another big interactive feature? Audience response systems. These systems are not new technology, but they are becoming more popular. Many of our clients employ the ARS to keep their audiences engaged during presentations. We can do polls (think Who Wants to be a Millionaire’s ‘Ask the Audience’ feature), trivia games, and more, then display the results immediately on-screen. The displays aren’t always just graphs, either – technologies like Wordle combine the responses into a word cloud to create a more dynamic presentation.
One more interactive device is the thumb drive (jump drives, USB sticks, etc.) Not only are the drives themselves customizable in appearance, but we can pre-load content onto the drive too – speaker’s presentations, videos, PowerPoints, URLs, etc. Clients have used these drives at trade shows as a cool giveaway with a branding campaign already integrated as well as at their conferences, where they can give attendees the drive with more information on presentations, special bonus features, etc. When they’re done viewing the information, they can use the drives as they please.
What are some technologies you’ve seen used at (or before) tradeshows and conferences?