Conferences, speaker sessions and other events have an exciting world of new tools that can help their events achieve that holy grail of good events: audience engagement.
From integrating social media into your Q&A session, to lightweight photobooth solutions, to throwable microphones, here’s three pieces of event tech that will help your event market itself and keep attendees paying attention.
At the recent CMX Summit in San Francisco, community managers and community strategists came together to discuss what community means, and better ways to engage their communities. All three of these tools were in use there, and they worked as well in tandem as they do individually. So what are these three tools worth paying for?
The traditional Q&A model involves audience members lining up to ask questions via microphone. Variations on the theme involve ushers passing the mic throughout the audience. As Catchbox points out in a cute little promo video: this slows things down and can suck the energy out of a speaker session.
Enter Catchbox: a throwable microphone that can be tossed to audience members who would like to speak. The mic itself sounds surprisingly great – it could pick up the sound of my voice when I held the box chest high and asked a question, but didn’t pick up any other sounds — rustling, feedback, or any sound as it was thrown. Turns out Catchbox is a carefully engineered product that uses built-in sensors and microprocessors to determine when the mic should pick up sound and when it shouldn’t, based on movement.
The audience at CMX loved the boxes — the passing of the microphone became a fun game, rather than an energy suck.
What: Audience microphone for better engagement at Q&A sessions
2. TINT Social Display: Get your attendees to ask questions and share their photos on any social channel.
Another fresh approach to Q&A Sessions that we love involves asking audience members to respond to a speaker & ask their questions via social media. Using a social media aggregator like TINT, you can pull in everyone’s posts, moderate the questions, and display the chosen questions one at a time for the speaker to answer. We’ve seen this used effectively with some pretty big display screens. This is great for a larger audience where moderating the questions is necessary.
Using a social display during a speaker or conference doesn’t need to be centered around the Q&A. At CMX, a giant wall of tweets and instagram posts quietly scrolled by during the entire conference, which prompted audience members to share their comments and photos throughout the event.
Photo booths are a popular way to amuse event attendees, and get them taking pictures at your event. Simple Booth Halo is a new, lightweight spin on the old photo booth standby — a halo of light that mounts around an iPad, running simple and well-designed photo booth software. The pitch on halo’s website points out the main advantage of this kind of hardware:
“Is it a photo booth? Is it an iPad? Nobody knows. It’s just cool.”
The app makes it easy for guests to post their pictures directly to social media or send it to their friends. This is a great way to prompt some user generated content. Just make sure you invite users to tag their posts with the appropriate hashtag so they can show up on your social display. Bonus points go to the app for stitching pics together into animated GIFs.
What: Lightweight photobooth with social capabilities