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All emotional: how event tech can engage your delegates

Delegates who are emotionally involved get more out of a meeting, writes Corbin Ball

They learn and retain more. They are more interactive. They bring out more in others. They will rate the event higher and will be more likely to return in future years – while encouraging others to do so as well. But how do you know you are making an emotional connection with your audience?

Fortunately there are many ways to measure and build engagement at events:

Surveys, polling and social Q&A systems using smart devices are simple, easy-to-use, inexpensive and directly engage attendees giving immediate feedback to their thoughts. (examples: sli.do and www.conferences.io).

Measuring the social media activity (number of event-related tweets, posts, pictures, videos, etc.) is an effective method of assessing attendee engagement levels.

Social media sentiment analysis tools not only measure social activity, but can help you listen to your members/audience and identify the messages/posts that are driving desired outcomes and a good measure of engagement. Measuring positive and negative keywords can give immediate feedback to your event social activities. Other systems can go much further in measuring emotions expressed. One example is: Facebook Insights.

Gamification can be used to increase attendee engagement or perform desired actions at events. Increasingly these are a component of mobile event apps.

Your mobile event app analytics can be a goldmine of information on engagement. Every touch on a mobile event app can be trackable. Some basic metrics include the percentage of people downloading the app and the number of interactions, However, this can go deeper indicting speaker ratings, exhibit ratings, topic/track ratings, session downloads and more. This direct feedback on attendee likes/dislike can be very useful.

Wearable beacons contained in some smart badges can measure attendees’ journeys through a meeting space or exhibit. They can measure how long they are in sessions and which ones are the best attended. They can measure how long individuals spend in front of specific exhibit booths. These are direct measures of attendee interest and engagement. (Examples include: hubvents.com, loopd.com and experient-inc.com.

 

Social walls allow an event organizer to display the real-time social activity at an event (tweets, Instagram posts, etc.) using large monitors or data projectors. These products are typically cloud-based, inexpensive, easy-toset-up and provide a range of moderation options. Examples include: Cvent Social Wall and SocialWall.

Matchmaking and networking tools are making their way to events. Often they are integrated with a mobile event app or as part of hosted buyer scheduling program with the goal of connecting people of mutual interests together. One mobile-based product of interest is com. Using a combination of a mobile event app and beacon technology, attendees at the SXSW music & technology conference were allowed to indicate specific interest areas on the app. Then, when two attendees of like interests came in proximity or each other, each were notified in the app.

Live video streaming and photo sharing social apps can be used to engage attendees. Many of the major social tools are allowing live video streaming (Twitter/Periscope, Facebook Instant Video, YouTube Live, Instagram Story, Snapchat Story). They involve attendees and allow them to share your event to a larger audience. Additionally, social photo booths, such as net’s ChirpE Photo Booth, encourage attendees to take photos and share them on Instagram with the event hashtag. The attendee gets the photo and the event planner gets a more widely shared social footprint of the event.

There are also new microphone options to increase engagement. com allows attendees to use their smart phones and an audience microphones. Catch Box is a foam-covered throwable microphone that works well, is fun to use and is much more convenient and engaging than the standard standing aisle microphone.

Second screen technology allows attendees to see and interact with presentation slides using their own smart device or vendor-provided tablets. This can be used for polling, for note taking and other interactivity between the speaker and audience. Examples include com, educationalmeasures.com, and evenium.com.  Many of these tools provide rich data detail of attendee likes and attention.

This plethora of engagement and engagement measurement tools will transform the impact and power of your meetings.