How do you get participants to accept and use interactive elements?

“How much interaction can an event take”? On January 11, 2018 panelists in a Fish Bowl in the MICE FORUM at the trade show Best of Events discussed this question. Participants from the audience rephrased the question: How do you get participants of an event to interact in that event via app? Especially if you are dealing with a more conservative audience? Here are three answers:

1. Think from the perspective of content

We agree with David Eickelberg  (Touchdown Events) who also appeared briefly on the podium: an audience accepts the opportunity to interact at an event if that interaction is relevant to the content of the event. From our perspective, the following applies to interaction via smartphone at digitally facilitated events:

Only the content of an information process can be digitalized,

  • to realize content contribution from the participant,
  • that is desired by the event concept and is produced via
  • the technical opportunity presented by the app.

2. Activate role models

Participation requires encouragement. Role models. Especially when dealing with a conservative audience, the potential to create value through interaction can only be increased if facilitators, key note speakers, and other executive personnel on stage provide a positive example of using the interactive medium in front of the audience.

An event in which the key players do not use the technology themselves will not reach its fullest potential.

For this reason, all those who are role models in the event and responsible for guiding and directing the audience have to come to the table during event preparation. Brief training sessions and the customary rehearsal, as offered by teambits, assure that even inexperienced personnel is confident in using new technology.

3. Ensure an optimal user experience

No audience denies itself the experience of appreciated participation. Technical hurdles have never been as low as they are today: practically all adults use a smartphone today, know how to log into a public WLAN, and can open a webpage on their device. As long as a web application like those offered by teambits is implemented and the network for the event is set up by an experienced provider like teambits, there are no technical barriers. A solution like teambits also meets privacy protection and compliance requirements.

But technology is not the only factor that defines the user experience. Another requirement that must be fulfilled is that the staging of the interaction meets the needs of the audience. Especially when an audience is presented with the opportunity to interact for the very first time, it is important to give participants time to discover their own smartphones as a tool to help shape the event. Otherwise it comes to a self-fulfilling prophesy. If your approach to interaction is haphazard, you will learn that it is not accepted to the desired extent. Getting participants to accept the opportunity for interaction can only be achieved if the concept allows for and guides the process of acceptance.

Image: Fish Bowl “How much interaction can an event take”, among others, Stefan Kirchner (Kölner Verbände Seminare), Jürgen May (2bdifferent), Meike Twiehaus (EVVC e.V.), Dominik Jakob (G+B Interactive), on January 11, 2018, 12:40 pm to 1:15 pm, Best of Events 2018 – MICE Forum, Dortmund, Hall 5, Stage 5.E10. With permission from Irina Graf (The Mice Blog)