‘Audience engagement’ might sound like just a modern buzz phrase, but it’s a concept that event organisers have understood and encouraged since time immemorial.
Booing, hissing, cheering and clapping to express opinion have always been a part of the entertainment experience, it’s simply that today’s methods of participation are a bit more sophisticated (well, most of the time).
These days we have tons of tools to enable audiences to interact with the proceedings and help event organisers provide the best experience for their attendees.
What’s more, most of them don’t require investment in expensive hardware – attendees already have the technology required in their bags and pockets in the form of their smartphones and tablets.
So here are 11 more audience engagement tools that can bring your event to life with debate, opinion, sharing and fun. And for event more ideas on getting your audience fully engaged, join your event industry colleagues over on the EventTribe forum.
Mentimeter is a mobile voting app that lets you show the results live with real-time graphs and charts. Able to handle over 30,000 votes per minute, it can work for small events or big ones.
The app provides many different question/response formats such as multiple-choice, open-ended, rating scale and word clouds, and you can style it with your branding.
Glisser lets presenters share slides to the audience’s mobile devices during their presentation. In turn, audience members can like, comment on or share those slides to their own social networks.
Attendees can also download the slides for later reference or to share with colleagues back at the office. It means there’s no need for printed handouts, saving trees and providing extra convenience for attendees.
Buzzmaster is an audience interaction app with a difference – it comes with ‘BuzzMasters’; real people who moderate the audience responses in real-time.
The BuzzMasters are all journalists or experienced event managers, who sort through the data to curate the most interesting comments, and find your visitors’ best stories. They can also hit the audience with new, unexpected questions, helping to facilitate the session and create a buzz.
- Crowd Mics
Crowd Mics is an app that turns the audience’s phones into wireless microphones. The app works in conjunction with an ‘ATOM’ box that plugs into the venue’s wired network and sound system.
Meanwhile, the moderator uses an iPad app interface to control who speaks. Crowd Mics also has comment and polling functionality.
Unlike the rest of the tools in our list, Catchbox is not an app, but a physical microphone. However, it’s no ordinary microphone – it’s the world’s first throwable wireless microphone.
When someone has a question, rather than having to pick your way through the crowd to reach them with a normal mic, you simply throw them the Catchbox, engaging the participant in a fun game of catch.
Live Insights is a mobile polling and feedback app by QuickMobile that lets the audience vote, rate or answer multiple-choice questions from their phones.
A well as being able to create questions ahead of time, presenters can launch a poll on the fly, facilitating a truly interactive session and enabling them to tailor their presentations according to the audience’s response.
Rather than asking participants to use their mobile phones, Power Vote equips them with individual voting keypads, making the process easier for a less tech-savvy audience.
The easy-to-use keypads enable participants to respond to multiple-choice questions by selecting letters or numbers. The responses can be displayed in real-time making it easy to gather sentiment.
Engagenow lets you design attractive-looking polls and quizzes that empower the audience to interact with the big screen during an event.
It can also be used to crowdsource questions or open up chat around the event in order to spark debate and connect audience members with each other.
The eventScribe mobile event app has a plethora of functions including the ability for participants to ask questions, post comments and connect with each other on a private social networking platform.
Another interesting feature is the ability for attendees to access presentation slides, which they can annotate. They can then share their notes with other participants.
Confrenz is a multipurpose app that, among other things, lets you seek feedback on your event. Attendees can rate their general satisfaction with all parts of the agenda using a 1-5 scale of rating.
Alternatively, gain more in depth opinion by creating surveys they can respond to on their mobile phones. The app also has social networking capabilities that enable participants to connect and communicate.
Games are a great way to engage an audience. Loquiz lets organisers easily set up a variety of games and quizzes with an integrated question library. You can also use it to stage bespoke treasure hunts, using photos or written clues to guide players.
The app, which an appointed team leader operates on a tablet, uses GPS for outdoor positioning and a special clue system for indoor question mapping, and it’s suitable for events of all sizes.
Engaging event attendees is integral to holding their attention. It can also make a big difference to their satisfaction levels – if an attendee has been actively involved in the proceedings they’re far more likely to feel the event was worthwhile.
Using tools such as the ones listed above makes it easier than ever to facilitate audience participation and get the atmosphere buzzing.
What’s your favourite way to engage an audience? Good ol’ fashioned hands in the air? Or a great app? Let us know in the comments!