My team supports a lot of live events, and we’ve always encouraged our clients to make their meetings as interactive as possible. Giving participants a way to provide real-time feedback not only keeps them engaged, it also helps them retain the content.
Whether it’s YORN, “the real-time opinion getter,” or Event Pad for “one-to-one event interaction,” our clients are interested in finding innovative ways to use these new tools. In addition to experimenting with the use of them in large meetings, they’re being used in bid meetings for new business with clients, and in executive board meetings for real-time opinion gathering.
YORN and Event Pad are great examples of online companies that take full advantage of the fact that all of our audience members have a mobile device, sometimes two, with them when they attend a meeting. Their solutions are cloud-based, and generally very easy to use.
These mobile device driven polling and opinion gathering resources are definitely challenging our ability to sell our traditional audience response system to our clients. Some clients are also opting out of using mic runners for Q/A sessions, relying on the text gathering capabilities of the system instead. However, we still have skills and insights we can offer our clients that allow us to add value to the interactive experience.
Here are some things we’ve offered as production professionals that can enhance the use of YORN or Event Pad in our meetings, and generate some additional production services as well:
Speaker and Emcee Coaching
Our clients don’t always consider the impact real-time opinions from participants can have on the role of the meeting emcees and speakers. Our production team can prep and train the client and emcees for the meeting on how best to handle the flow of the participant feedback.
Hiring Professional Talent
We sometimes recommend and hire professional talent to take on the role of the YORN emcee. This allows the internal hosts of the event to stay in a neutral role, while the hired talent fields the questions and reacts on the spot.
Technical Producer for Opinions and Polls
Our busy clients still appreciate having someone they can lean on for coordination, and so we’ve offered to have one of our producers take on the role of integrating YORN into each presenter’s message and working with the tool to program all of the polls.
Opportunities for Creative, Graphical and Scenic Integration
We can shine creatively by using these new channels to reinforce the themes in our events, both before and during the event. We offer to present the data from the polling tools in a more appealing way since many of the display functions in these tools lack visual sophistication. We can also sell additional projection or scenic options to enhance the user experience while featuring these tools creatively on screen.
By viewing new technology as an opportunity rather than a threat, we’re continuing to be trusted consultants to our clients!
Yorn and Event Pad are just two available options that we’ve tried — if you’ve used another tool you like, please share your experiences.
This article was contributed by Thomas M. Densmore, CMMA Board of Directors