Top 5 reasons why you should interact with your audience
By Kathryn Voce, business development manager, Group Dynamics
There seem to be a lot of articles offering tips on how you can improve the way you interact with your audience at events but not many explaining why you should interact with them in the first place.
So why should you interact with your audience?
We have focused on the top five reasons why you should interact with your audience. Some of these reasons benefit you as the host/organiser, others benefit the audience and others benefit everyone involved.
- Improves engagement
Gone are the days where your audience were passive receptacles for the information delivered to them. Today’s attendees expect to be participants at events actively utilising technology – be it their own or that which is supplied to them. By offering your audience opportunities to be involved, through voting, polling and messaging for example, they are being actively engaged in the event and are provided with a much more positive experience as they are actively processing and responding to the information being shared with them.
- Improves learning
It is important that events provide an environment that encourages learning and development. Using audience interaction tools increases the active engagement of the audience in the event and the content being shared, which will ultimately result in increased learning. By utilising polling during the event you can check the understanding of the audience on the key content delivered as well as gauging the level of learning through audience self assessment. Messaging solutions enable all attendees to put forward questions regarding the information being shared with them to aid with clarification and understanding, and thus learning.
- It’s inclusive and allows people to have their say
We all feel more valued if we believe our thoughts and opinions are being listened to and taken ‘on board’. It makes us feel involved and that we can provide a valuable contribution to the discussion. Utilising technology for this at an event provides everyone with the opportunity to contribute, even if they are shy or quiet and usually find their voice being overpowered by louder, more confident participants. This enables the audience to gain what they need from the event to help them develop and move forward.
- You gain instant feedback
You can receive feedback from your audience instantly through pop up surveys and even end of event evaluations can be easily completed on site with data collated through evaluation e-forms. Attendees are more likely to respond to surveys while they are still engaged in the event as the content and experience is still very much at the forefront of their minds. This feedback is vital for:
- You as the organiser – as it provides you with information to help you to improve the next event
- Speakers - as it aids them with improving their presentation skills
- The host - as it allows them to gauge whether the event captured the interest of the attendees.
- It provides measurable ROI
Being able to truly measure the returns on investment for events has always been a challenge for event organisers as it can be difficult to generate the necessary data to analyse. By incorporating audience engagement tools into an event, you can ascertain demographic data and relate these to vote/poll responses, the breakout sessions attended and even the questions asked. This enables you to obtain vital business intelligence to integrate into future sales and marketing plans. The instant feedback you gain from instant survey and event evaluation forms provides the data needed to assess the success of the event experience for the attendee.
Plus, on top of all this, it provides you with an opportunity to inject a lighter, more fun aspect to the event. Gamification is gaining popularity and adding an element of competition into an event feeds into our naturally competitive nature. It can also provide opportunities for collaboration as well as increasing the audience’s sense of inclusivity at the event. We have seen a range of fun activities incorporated into events by utilising interactive technology, from Blockbusters to Who wants to be a millionaire? to Dragons Den, so let your imagination run wild!