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Questions Answered: How to Turn Your Event Attendees Into Active Participants

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On Thursday February  11th, we had the pleasure of hosting Juraj Holub during one of our monthly webinars! Juraj, who is the Marketing Director at Slido, was able to give the audience a lot of helpful tips when it comes to getting your attendees involved during sessions. Even if you missed the live webinar, don’t worry! You can watch the recorded version here. With all of the questions that we had come in, there wasn’t enough time to cover them all but we wanted to make sure that they were all answered. Below, you’ll find the answers to all of your questions; take a look!

 What are some engagement technologies to manage speaker – audience interactions? What platform can be used?

A: In recent years, the events industry has witnessed the massive uptake of event technology. However, in the whirlwind of new tech tools, the most important aspect of event planning sometimes gets lost — event objective. So when evaluating the event engagement technologies, I’d ask the fundamental questions first:

- What are my event objectives and how can this tech help me achieve those goals?
– How easy is it to implement this tech at my event?
– What do I need to do to make sure my delegates will adopt the tech?

As for Slido, since our foundation we have helped over 8,000 events and meetings to manage speaker – audience interactions and increase overall engagement. We feel privileged to work with some high-profile clients such as SXSWedu, WOBI, KPMG, UBM or Cisco.

How do you target your approach with technology when your audience is not as “tech savvy?”

A: Using Slido is super-simple for any type of audience. Participants can join Slido by going to our website and using one simple code. They can join from any device and there is no need to download or install anything. It’s usually the introduction of the tool and how well it is communicated at the event rather than the tech skills of the audience that impacts the adoption rate.

Panels usually run out of time for Q&A, how can the moderator better keep them on track?

A: The secret to a truly engaging panel discussion is to incorporate audience questions early.
In most cases, moderators begin to take audience questions only in the final minutes when everyone is already tired and frustrated by a lack of interaction. There is no need to wait so long.
Simply have your moderator introduce the guests, kick off the discussion with a couple of general questions and then start taking questions from the audience. By using audience response systems, you can involve literally everyone, not only the extroverts who are not scared to raise the hand. And by allowing people to upvote the questions, you can focus on the topics that the audience is most eager to discuss.

Q We WANT technology to help but it’ expensive- how can we manage a budget-friendly tool?

A: There are a number of solutions that are based on the freemium model and provide the basic packages free of charge. At Slido, we try to make our solution affordable to everyone, offering a free version featuring most of the core functionality. In addition to our one-time plans, we introduced annual pricing plans to fit the needs of our corporate clients for multiple events, and an affordable EDU plan for schools and teachers.

What’s the most engaging medium for events? Is technology helping events or creating noise?

A: While I believe that nothing will replace face-to-face contact, I am also convinced that technology will significantly enhance dialogues at events and meetings of the future. But only if it’s used in line with the event objectives — they always come first. Technology is just a means to help event planners reach higher goals, be it a greater interaction or ultimately more effective learning.

So internet will be needed to use this – Do you need extra speeds or does basic internet work? And is there a way to do it offline?

A: Slido, as well as other similar solutions, is a web-based application and therefore requires the stable Internet connection. In general, we recommend having the minimum speed of 5-10 Mbit/s for up to 100 attendees. When discussing the Internet connection with your venue provider, inquire about the network infrastructure — how many attendees can the network sustain simultaneously and ask for references of other events that used the similar technology.

I am hosting a statewide cross disability event so I plan to use live polling during the sessions and I have been notifying attendees in our promo emails to make sure they bring a phone or tablet. The biggest concern is usability and accessibility.

A: The most critical moment for getting your attendees to adopt the tool is the introduction at the start of your event or session.

Dedicating as little as 2-3 minutes to the intro can radically boost the adoption rate and overall interaction. Ideally, it’s your moderator who introduces the tool but you can also do it yourself.

We recommend starting with a warm up question to help people get familiar with the tool before you ask a “real” question. You can watch this video to see how event moderator Gerrit Heijkoop effectively introduced Slido and got people ready to use the tool.

Biggest challenge – Speaker isn’t dynamic, Staying on topic

A: Preparing speakers is a huge topic and it often arises as one of the biggest challenges the event profs face. I say that prevention is always better than correction. Once the speaker steps onstage it’s usually too late to correct the presentation content or its delivery. Therefore it’s important to assess the content and the speaker’s skills in advance and find the most suitable format to help him or her to deliver the message.

Out of many advice I came across on this topic, I found the answer provided by meeting designer Van der Vijver particularly helpful. He said: “Don’t ask the person to do something they’re not capable of, but you can suggest something to them just a little outside their comfort zone. For example, a monotonic speaker could be filmed in advance and his content edited to maximise effect; then a live audience Q&A could follow in the room.”

Q What are the best practices for time-keeping?

A: There is a number of tricks that will help you mitigate the likelihood that your speakers will overrun their allotted slot.

Tell your speakers how much time exactly they have for the presentation delivery and how much time will be dedicated to Q&A. People confuse slot times for speaking times and forget that there are introductions and questions.

Use a timer or visual cues to indicate the end of the session. Place the timer onstage so your speakers can keep track of the remaining minutes and (hopefully) finish on time.

Brief your moderator to track time and cut in when appropriate. It is a common practice for a moderator to track time too and give speakers a signal, usually 5 minutes before the end of presentation, that their speaking time is almost up.

In case, none of the above work, make sure to add some buffer times to your agenda to absorb any overruns.

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Miss the live webinar about attendee engagement?register
If you weren’t able to attend the live event with Juraj, no need to worry! You can tune in to the webinar by registering for the recorded version and learn all about how you can get your attendees engaged. For those of you who have already watched the live webinar, you can relive it now!
Watch it now>>

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