Leading Meeting Professionals

Professional Convention Management Association

July 07 2016

Energize Your Meetings with ARS

Pat Ahaesy, CMP, CSEP
Are you an event planner planning a program, and want to be sure that your attendees are engaged during the various sessions? Are you a presenter who wants to be sure that your audience is engaged?

Event planners and speakers want to engage their audiences, but the trick is how to engage effectively. Even the very best speakers may have a tough time keeping audience interest at times. No matter how important, fascinating or humorous the content is, audience interest waxes and wanes.

What to do?
Integrate an audience response system into the presentation.

Audience Response System

In addition to engaging your audience, an audience response system can be used as a research or survey tool. This is quite effective and results are obtained almost instantly.

There are a plethora of companies and types of audience response systems out there, but the end result is being able to get the audience reaction/response to the content being delivered on stage, and adding another level to their engagement.

Some of the systems consist of wireless keypads and use Wi-Fi to communicate, while others require an App on your phone. There are pluses and minuses to each. There more than likely is a technician on hand to assure that all works. The wireless units as well as the apps work with Wi-Fi, but you must be sure that you have enough bandwidth available in the room for serving the size audience you expect. One of the costs to be considered in this instance is the cost of Wi-Fi. This is vital as audience members will be very unhappy if they get knocked off the Wi-Fi. The Wi-Fi costs and negotiating those costs are another topic.

When it comes to an App, the Pew Report says "64% of American adults now own a smartphone of some kind". Make sure your audience is not part of the other 36%.

In the long run, whichever type that you choose, the most important thing is how you plan for them.

The first question is, should you use a wireless keypad or an app? This will depend on the outcomes desired, your audience and budget.

Next is which of the short list of types of systems and vendors that you've created has the capabilities that you want and need. This is not a one size fits all situation.

Then you need to come up with your questions. You can ask very simple questions with A or B answers, or slightly more complex questions with multiple choice answers. The key to getting true ROI from your system is preparing real questions that require real answers that will be useful to your audience, your speaker and to your company or association.

About the Author
Pat Ahaesy is the owner of P&V Enterprises is a Certified Woman Owned Business, certified by both the New York City Dept. of Small Business and New York State. We began as a business, producing corporate and nonprofit events in 1994.

Our company has evolved over the years and in addition to planning, production and management we leverage technology, successfully managing online and on site event registration and successfully producing hybrid events and webcasts to extend the reach of an event. I am a CMP and CSEP as well as an instructor for the online Special Events Institute. I was the President of the NYC Chapter of NAWBO, and on the Board of the NYC Chapter of ISES as well as a Committee Chair for MPIGNY. This article was originally published at http://www.spinplanners.com/spinblog/archives/12-2015.

About SPiN
SPIN is a supplier-free community of peers that delivers innovative ideas, belonging, validation, and self-celebration to experienced planners who are more than their name badge through live and virtual events. More information can be found at http://www.spinplanners.com.