9 Tips To Maximize Engagement Using Audience Response Systems

27 Aug 2015 in Technology

Audience response systems are fast becoming a mainstay of doing business for pod casters, market researchers, pollsters, presenters and other professionals. However, the potential of these systems is still being explored and expanded and there is always more to learn.

Whether you are in the market for an audience response system, you have just purchased one, but are not sure how to get the most out of it, or you have been using your system for some time and still want to learn more, this post will give you tips you can put to use right now.

Tip #1: Do a test run with the moderator to ensure familiarity with the system.

It doesn’t matter how good the audience response system is if the moderator doesn’t feel comfortable using it during your event. For best results, schedule a test run practice session with the moderator and a few volunteer “audience members.”

During the practice run, go over the features of the system and have the volunteers submit questions and comments to the moderator. If a highly interactive session is planned, having more than one moderator can also be helpful.

Tip #2: Provide attendees with a brief “how to” review at the start of the session.

In the same way, attendees will get a lot more out of the event if they know they can interact, ask questions, share comments and engage with others through the audience response system.

Taking time at the beginning of the event to review basic “how to’s” can support a more interactive event and much higher attendee reviews and feedback.

Tip #3: Conduct interactive polls and Q&As.

Rather than expecting attendees to independently speak up, give everyone a chance to be heard by conducting periodic polls or Q&A sessions, using the audience response system as a point of interaction. This way, even those who feel less technologically proficient will be encouraged to participate as they see peers responding.

Tip #4: Break the ice with the audience response system.

This is especially useful for remote focus groups, polls, surveys and roundtables, whether within the company or with a group of independent participants. You can use the system to ask up-front “getting to know you” questions. Examples might include participant expectations, reasons for attending, major goals and questions they want answered.

For surveys and focus groups, asking demographic information (name, profession, etc.) can get the participants comfortable with the system before the real interaction begins.

Tip #5: Conduct quizzes and assessments.

If you are using the audience response system in an education or classroom setting, you can use it to conduct quizzes and assessments at the ends of modules and before the seminar or class ends. This way, you get a better sense of audience comprehension as well as being able to reinforce key points from the topics presented.

Tip #6: Use the system for qualitative research.

Audience response systems are ideal vehicles for qualitative research and the use of more open-ended questions because they keep respondents answers short and succinct, but still promote open discussion of the subject matter.

Tip #7: Discover the impact of the presentation on participants.

By using audience response systems to ask two sets of identical questions – one at the start of the event and the other at the end of the event – moderators and coordinators get a sense of the overall impact and what participants liked most and least while the event itself is still fresh in their minds.

Participants leave feeling heard and valued and coordinators have immediate feedback they can begin using the very next day.

Tip #8: Provide a topical summary before closing the presentation.

Audience response systems integrate easily with Powerpoint, graphics and other visual aids, so moderators have an effortless way to provide participants with immediate “take-aways” in the form of summarizing graphs, charts, images and links.

Displaying the visual aids while wrapping up the event is also a memory aid to help participants reinforce what they have just learned.

Tip #9: Use mobile and online software to allow participants to stay connected.

Many participants sign up for continuing education, seminars, lectures, presentations, lunch-and-learns, conferences and other online events for networking as well as learning purposes. The more that can be done to allow participants to continue to keep in touch, network, share ideas and collaborate after the event ends, the higher the ratings will be and the more likely it is they will sign up for another event in the future.

By designating a central meeting location through an audience response system, you can also continue to gather feedback and data by participating in follow-up conversations regarding the event. This can yield useful insights to help plan future events as well.

Audience response systems have the ability to transform online communications from dull one-way monologues into interactive, interesting dialogues full of meaning, creativity, insight and engagement. By putting these 9 tips to work, you can start to reap the full benefits of your audience response system.

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