Getting the Most Out of Audience Response Systems
Jan 19, 2016 by Karen Daniels

With Today’s technology, everything is about “instant.” We access information instantly, communicate in a flash anywhere in the world, and we can find out in real time what our audience is thinking and what they care about.

Tapping into that “instant” ability is part of creating and running a successful trade show, conference, or corporate event. If you are running or presenting at an event, you are always looking for ways to boost attendee engagement and audience participation. Audience response systems can do all that.

At their best, audience response systems (ARS) promote live interaction, engagement and feedback. They can take an already good presentation to the next level and alert trade show managers to areas that are weak during an event.

The New ARS – Mobile Event Applications

With advances in smart phone and tablet technology, audience response systems for events are now often run right through attendees’ mobile devices. This makes ARS more affordable and easier to deploy, since most people attending an event have one or both of these devices with them (Plus, you can always rent iPads for those attendees who need them).

A mobile event application designed to allow attendees to respond to, and comment on, presentations and other event activities, not only helps boost participation and engagement, it provides you with priceless information that you can use to improve this event, and future events.

However, like all technology, if not used properly, ARS can fall- short of your expectations. That’s why it’s important to understand how you can best use an ARS, especially during a presentation when you’re trying to connect with an audience. Here are some tips to get you started.

17 Audience Response System Tips

  1. Like all technology, it’s good practice to test the equipment prior to live use.
  2. Make sure that everyone running the presentation knows how to use the equipment. For example, the presenters and/or moderators.
  3. Consider using two screens during the presentation, one for the presentation and the other for the ARS.
  4. If you’re using an ARS during a presentation, take the time early on to draw everyone in and demonstrate how to use the ARS. Keep it simple, such as asking them to sign in. Or, you might ask them for some simple demographics questions. This helps them feel comfortable with the technology and can give you valuable information.
  5. Always let participants know if the responses are going to be anonymous or are going to be tracked.
  6. You can generate engagement by polling them early on and letting them know that you will reveal the results at the end of the presentation.
  7. Don’t over use the technology. You don’t want to present them with dozens of questions they need to voice their opinion on. A good average number is about 5 questions for every hour of presentation.
  8. Make it as easy as possible. For example, number each of the answers to match a number on the keypad.
  9. Ask questions that are useful and relevant.
  10. Avoid questions that are worded confusingly. As an example, don’t use double negatives.
  11. Make sure to include some opinion-style questions.
  12. People want to be heard. If at all possible, use the responses you are receiving to change the course of the presentation. Or, at least, talk about the responses. No one has continued engagement in a vacuum.
  13. Keep the questions short and use questions that only require brief opinions. However, brief does not mean that you don’t want to ask challenging questions. Controversial questions can be good for generating discussion.
  14. Gameshow style questions or running a competition can help generate responses.
  15. If the presentation is designed to actively teach the audience something, use your ARS to find out what they know about the topic at the beginning and then again at the end. It’s good to know if how you are teaching them actually works.
  16. Let everyone know that the equipment must be returned at the end.
  17. Don’t be afraid to have a call to action at the end, such as having them sign up for something or, ask a question that you will respond to personally.

These tips will help your effectiveness no matter what type of ARS you are using. Technology is only effective when you use it to engage your target audience.

Get the Most from Your ARS and all Your Technology

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Want to get the most out of your ARS? Call us at 800.888.8686 or request a quote today so that we can help you get the most from your trade show or corporate event technology.

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