Creative Ways to Promote Interaction Before, During, and After the Meeting
Apr 04, 2011 by DeDe Mulligan

Attendees are hungry for the interactive format at meetings and events. Meeting planners need to find creative ways to meet this need before, during, and after the event by keeping the conversation going. Below are some technology tools available to you to keep the creative juices flowing at your next conference.

SURVEYS and POLLS

Ways to Promote Interaction at MeetingsBefore the Event
Surveymonkey provides a free online tool that allows you to ask potential attendees what they want at the meeting via a series of close ended, multiple choice questions. Google Docs can also provide event planners with a series of survey templates to customize and email to your target audience. However, one caveat: Make certain you implement many (if not all) of the suggestions into the meeting. No one likes to make suggestions and then feel as if the conference services organization ignored their requests.

During the Event
Polling the audience is a great way to make any session more interactive. Audience Response System rentals let attendees answer questions and/or give feedback to speakers and event organizers and the results are instantaneously displayed as a graph on the screen, for all to view.

SOCIAL and MOBILE

Before the Event
Facebook and LinkedIn allow for event pages and the ability to invite attendees to the event. However, the key with both of these tools is to have many connections and continuously update the event pages with fresh information.

Twitter allows a planner to create a hashtag unique to the event (i.e. #AVEventSolutions2011) which allows attendees to follow and place comments about that event.

During the Event
If attendees rent iPads, Twitcasting allows them to share live video. Users can also access all social media platforms on an iPad and create livestreaming of Tweets that can be posted to all other iPads, Plasma TVs and computer kiosks at the event.

Tumblr allows participants to blog about the event from an iPad and allow an unlimited number of people the ability to contribute to a blog. In addition, any smartphone can post comments about the blog via texting.

After the Event
YouTube is another video sharing tool. However, most event organizers or participants shoot the video, edit it, and then post it on YouTube. It is great for people who missed the conference or want to archive an important speaker. However, it is limited to only 10 minutes per upload. 

SlideShare allows presenters to upload and share PowerPoint presentations after the meeting. This tool can also be connected to a person’s LinkedIn account.

Flickr and Picasa allow attendees to share, organize and even edit photos. Event organizers should have a few designated photographers who are knowledgeable about this software to do this so attendees can have mementos of the event.

BOTTOM LINE
The more interactive technology tool rentals you provide to your attendees, the more involved and attentive they will be at your next meeting. Get everyone involved from the venue to the presenter to make your next meeting truly dynamic.

AV Event Solutions, a California meeting equipment rental company, provides rentals for many of the tools mentioned above including, iPads, iPad 2s, computer kiosks, plasma TVs, and wireless audience response systems.

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