Making Meetings Interactive -

Making Meetings Interactive

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Whether youre willing to admit it or not, most of us have at one time or another indulged in the guilty pleasure of watching Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? or Jeopardy!. Sitting at home in our living rooms, the couch potato in all of us turns into an academic decathlete when were watching these game shows. We answer the questions, certain that we, rather than the actual contestants, should be the ones on television with the chance to win the big prize.

Wouldnt it be wonderful, then, if those of us in the audio visual rental and staging community could provide our clients with equipment that taps into mans innate competitiveness and use it to make meetings and conventions more fun and more effective? Such a technology does exist. It is called audience participation technology.

Now, instead of audience members passively sitting (and possibly sleeping) through a sales presentation, the meeting can be transformed into an interactive experience where attendees answer questions, much like they would on a TV game show. The result is increased understanding and retention of important information. And this, my friends, is exactly what our clients want.

As competition increases and budgets decrease, event planners are now being pressured to make their events more productive. Fortunately for them, as well as the staging community, audience participation technologies are a great way for meeting planners and their clients to achieve this goal.

As partners in the meeting and convention industry, audiovisual rental companies should seriously investigate the market potential of this equipment.
Audience participation technologies usually combine wireless handheld keypads and radio frequency antennas placed around the room with software that anonymously collects real time data from meeting participants.

Normally, attendees, ranging in numbers from 10 to 2,000 or more, use the keypads to answer multiple-choice questions. Visual cues indicate when the audience members should press the button on the keypad that corresponds to their desired answer.
The systems software then compiles the data, converts it to a graph, chart or numeric form, and projects it onto a screen, usually in the form of a PowerPoint image. The tallying process takes only a few seconds.

Needless to say, features like these are extremely attractive to meeting planners, and they are actively investigating the application opportunities, which are extensive.
In senior management meetings, for example, this technology is used to assist participants in reviewing the meetings progress, getting a consensus and/or discussing new plans. Sales training meetings incorporate this technology so management can determine how well attendees understand the presentations content and how effectively it was delivered.

Abundant Apps
Law firms conduct mock trials with these systems. Pharmaceutical companies use this equipment at large conventions to collect record and interpret data on doctors prescribing and diagnostic patterns. Additionally, the software can track audience feedback as a movie, television show or commercial is being viewed. Multi-site meetings can also use this technology. The opportunities are abundant, indeed.
Audiovisual rental companies should be able to add this to their arsenal of offerings with minimal risk. Technically speaking, the investment would not be significant.

Any video projector with a standard VGA cable and power source is required for most applications. Smooth transitions from presentations to questions can be achieved with a switcher box or image freeze control.

Of course, like with everything else in our business, if you only pay attention to the technology but let the rest slide, you could get into trouble. Audience participation systems are heavily dependent on the programs content and presenters. If both are sub par, the equipment could work flawlessly, yet the program would be ineffective.


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