Whether in a small group setting or in a large congress symposium, meeting interactivity is essential to not only retaining the interest of your audience, but also to your audience retaining the key messages that you are communicating. Interactivity is more than just the use of tools to wow or entertain, it is an active strategy to create moments and opportunities for audience engagement with speakers, peers, meeting organizers and the information that is being communicated.
Prime your audience
Before your audience even steps through the door of an event, you can begin to build interactivity opportunities. Share information related to your meeting through meeting-specific websites or email communications, so that your attendees can prepare prior to their arrival. Take advantage of the invitation or registration process by allowing your audience to ask questions or share insights on their meeting objectives. You can do this through registration surveys or questions, and then build this information into your meeting content. Even small activities to introduce key speakers, such as introductory videos or personalized invitations, can help pique audience interest.
Look beyond the meeting room
Once attendees are onsite, maximize your opportunities for interactivity not just inside the meeting room but also outside it. Leverage the entire meeting space by setting up additional engagement opportunities for your attendees in corridors, lobbies and break rooms. If appropriate, encourage speakers to be available to speak one-to-one with attendees during breaks or meal times. Organize competitive challenges outside the meeting room that reinforce key data or set the scene for an upcoming presentation. Provide attendees with the tools to explore information during downtimes and at their own pace. These tools can be as simple as offering libraries or touch screens that share resources to more complex technologies, like augmented reality applications that can present relevant information or quizzes when the attendees’ surroundings are scanned. The key is to keep interactive elements brief and attendee-initiated to avoid overwhelming your audience during non-structured time in the agenda.
Scale interactivity to audience size
There are many ways to integrate interactivity into large group or plenum settings as well as smaller group settings. Simple ways can include using colour-coded cards or audience response systems to let attendees vote and see trends amongst their peers; polling tools for multiple choice or rating questions; and Q&A or panel periods where attendees can clarify or challenge concepts with the speakers. Even asking attendees to discuss pertinent questions with their neighbours helps to enhance interactive learning by making both parties move from formulating an answer to justifying their rationale for the answer.
As the groups get smaller, you can integrate interactive strategies that rely more on peer-to-peer discussion and use more complex or time-intensive activities or games. The key is to select interactive strategies that suit the size of your audience and allow flexibility for gathering information as well as reinforcing messages within the time allotted.
Enhance interactivity with technology
Technologies such as audience response systems and iPads with a meeting app are great tools for facilitating interactivity. Whether the technology is provided to the attendee or they use their own device, it is important to ensure that it complements and enhances the attendee experience rather than distracting from the day. If you have a public meeting, technology can also be a great way to engage external attendees who may or may not be onsite. You can add hashtags, group chats or even video feeds to engage distance learners. And always remember to train attendees on required functionalities.
Develop a plan from the outset to ensure technology is incorporated strategically and consistently throughout your meeting. You can facilitate this by creating a technology overview during the planning process that identifies which tools can enhance which meeting activities. The key is to know your audience and choose your technology use wisely.
At Six Degrees Medical, we can help you effectively integrate the right kind of interactivity into your meetings. We develop creative strategies to engage your audience by creating the most effective interactivity plan for them – whether high-tech or simple, or a dynamic mix of both. We ensure that interactivity becomes a fully integrated, logical extension of the attendee experience that reinforces key learning points, encourages peer-to-peer interactions and stimulates learning.