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3 ways tech can enhance audience experience at an event

Technology today is disrupting just about every facet of or lives, so it's no surprise that the world of event organisation and audience experience has also been taken to new dimensions by the technological revolution.

Perhaps you're an event organiser looking for new ways to engage your audience, or a company wanting to do more than just put some great speakers in front of your guests, but even the smallest events can benefit from these tips. Today, giving your audience a great experience means more than just a talk followed by audience questions and then refreshments. It means actively engaging them using technology.

If you handle events or you simply want to find out more about improving your brand, increasing your digital footprint and more importantly actively engaging an audience, then below are three tips from some of the latest events we’ve attended.

1. Live blogging

At a recent Secrets to my Success event sponsored by Sage, the ITProPortal team engaged the audience through live blogging and impromptu video interviews on what people wanted to get out the event, as well as their own tips on how to be successful.

Having a good team of engaging writers on call, backed by a solid internet connection, a backend website and software to host the live blog helps, of course, but similar tactics can be used by even smaller businesses when running events. This kind of coverage enables the participation of people who weren't able to make it to the event, and helps spread the message further than the four walls of the conference room.

The live coverage also allows the online audience to engage with the team over social media, and follow a blow-by-blow account of what happened.

2. Mobile integrated online forum

How many compères encourage people to use their telephones while at a conference or a keynote speaker is talking? That's right: none. But today online engagement is increasingly one of the major ways for audiences to interact with speakers at events, whether it's through social media or simply by visiting the website.

Mobile engagement platforms were used to great effect at Startup Grind's last event in London. Their web forum displayed online users' questions on-screen, and asked the audience to vote for their favourite questions - which the organiser then posed to the keynote speakers.

These questions were also displayed on the screens behind Startup Grind London Chapter director Marian Gazdik as well as the most recent tweets on the #startupgrind hashtag.

People in the audience could also engage with people online using Twitter and the interactive forum, all of which made the audience feel part of the action on stage.

3. Google Glass

Use Google Glass! At the same recent StartUp Grind Event, host and organiser Marian Gazdik wore Google Glass while speaking to the crowd.

If you’re not familiar with Glass, then where have you been?

Whenever Marian faced his Eventbrite guests, the magic of the Internet, connected to an overhead projector, allowed the view from his Glass camera to be projected onto large screens behind himself and his guests.

This projection allowed the audience to see the action from the presenter’s point of view, which made them feel part of the show. This is a simple but effective way to break down barriers between presenter and audience.

In short

Live blogging, mobile integrated online forums and Google Glass are three great ways for you to provide a deeper experience for your audience. But before you use them, do have a few practice dummy runs. There's nothing worse than trying to employ an innovative new technology, only to have it cause problems on the night and disrupt the smooth running of the show. When in doubt, make sure to have someone who knows the technology well on hand, and make sure not to rest everything on its successful running!

If you've seen or used technology used in any other ways to increase the audience experience at an event, please share it in the comments section below.