How to Make the Most of an Audience Response System at Your Event

Juraj Holub

Audience response systems and Q&A platforms are highly effective at engaging your participants and letting them co-create your event in real time.

While most of them are easy to use on the site, they require a bit of planning in the weeks leading up to the event. Here, we collated 5 steps that will guide you on how to make the most out of a Q&A platform.

1. Plan ahead

Don’t use event technology for the sake of using it. Think in advance about how to fit it into your event concept and how to encourage the audience to use it.

It’s really important to select the right session formats where to implement Q&A platform so it actually enhances the entire experience. Among many use cases, audience response systems work particularly well with the following three session formats.

Panel Discussions

The research by Kristin Arnold has shown that panels are only “okay”—or even worse—primarily because of moderator issues and out-of-control panelists.
Q&A platform works as an efficient backchannel for questions from the audience allowing moderators to incorporate the best ones into a discussion and steer the conversation in the direction that attendees want it to go.

Q&A time after presentations

Everyone hates that moment when the moderator asks “Do you have any questions?” and you can almost hear tumbleweed roll by. Q&A platform allows you to make a smooth transition between the presentation and Q&A time. You can gather the stack of best questions before the Q&A session starts and use its time efficiently addressing the questions that your audience is most interested in.

Pitch Competitions

There is nothing more rewarding than to get instant feedback and find out what the audience thinks about your pitch. Expressing an opinion in live polls let attendees give valuable feedback to pitching presenters and companies.

2. Get technically ready

Apart from choosing the right sessions, you need to make sure that you have appropriate technical equipment. Q&A platforms are the most efficient and effective when questions are displayed live on the wall or on the screen. The audience feels more encouraged to submit more questions when they see them popping up on the wall.

Make sure that you have the following tech equipment:
a) A computer with the Internet connection where you’ll moderate questions and push polls
b) A beamer connected to the computer
c) A screen or a wall where you’ll be projecting the questions and polls to the audience

3. Encourage presenters to use it

Once you decide on the sessions where you plan to employ a Q&A platform. Make sure to send a short introduction email to presenters and speakers. Let them know that they can acquire valuable insights with live polls and gather questions before their Q&A time.

Julius Solaris has written recently “An awesome conference speaker would ask you if you have an audience response system (ARS) in place or if they have to bring their own. Speakers should be proactive in suggesting polling as means of interaction and engagement.”

If they’re not so proactive, suggest them that they can use the system used at your event and make polling and live questions a part of their presentation.

4. Brief moderators

Moderators play a crucial role when it comes to introducing the Q&A platform to the audience and using it effectively. Make sure that you brief them about how you wish it to be utilized. Ask them to introduce the platform, explain where the audience can join in and finally induce a strong call to action. Provide them with a device (preferably a tablet) from which they can read the incoming questions and see the poll results.

5. Introduce it to the audience

As most of Q&A platforms are web-based, you need to make sure that the audience is connected to the Internet. When introducing the system at the beginning of your event, make sure to remind your attendees the name of the event’s wifi network and password so they can log in.

Subsequently, make them vote in a simple warm-up poll. You don’t only get the attendees to open the application but you can also gather valuable insights from your them.

Remind your attendees repeatedly throughout the event that they can ask questions and vote in polls to enjoy fully the potential of audience response system.

Have you already used an audience response system at your event? Please tweet us your experience to @slidoapp

 

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