Is the use of mobile technology a distraction during an event? Today it would be unthinkable to keep those attending a talk or a conference from using their mobile phones (unless we’re talking about a retreat or a day to detox from technological addiction...)

A few years ago, the speaker would be surprised or even upset if during his talk he saw the audience looking at a screen and not the stage. Now it’s the norm. "Are they even listening to me?" many will ask when they see heads bent over their tablets, smartphones or computers.
But we know that "if you can’t beat 'em, join 'em". So let's see how we can use mobile to our advantage during an event, since prohibiting them is inconceivable (and counterproductive).

The event organizer must seize the opportunities offered by technology and encourage the use of mobile devices to facilitate guest interaction and connecting "face to face" with other attendees. Since your guests will be distracted by the screen, at least they can do so with content related to your event. How do you do it? Below we offer 5 tips:

  • Use it as a participation tool. Not everyone dares to speak up or participate freely in front of other people. Therefore, through mobile, the audience can ask questions of the presenter without speaking out loud.
  • Do surveys with live results: if before the meeting or conference you make guests aware that at the end they will be asked several questions, they’re more likely to be attentive. Voting can be done through the event’s app, further facilitating participation.
  • Offer a gamification experience: people like to compete and win. You can introduce games into your event through mobile devices, either in teams or individually, related to the content of the meeting.
  • Facilitate networking and face to face meetings. Mobile devices can be great tools during the registration process of the event: the attendees publish their profile, interests, who they are interested in meeting (from a specific company or sector or other professional contacts) ... With the collected data, the organizer is able to facilitate meetings through smartphones or tablets – always including the option to accept or decline the invitation!
  • Project a "social wall" with the opinions that attendees post on Twitter. Of all the social networks that exist, Twitter is by far the most commonly used at events because of its ability to broadcast what is happening in real time. Therefore it’s very common to have a "tweet wall" or "social wall", where the micro torrent of messages related to your event is projected on a screen. This way you can encourage audience interaction and value their contributions that have come through mobile. Don’t hesitate to encourage and facilitate this spontaneous content by proposing in advance a unified hashtag for the event.  This will broaden the reach of your event this thanks to the guests’ usage of mobile technology.
The challenge is to use mobile as an ally rather than considering it an enemy. Whether it’s used to encourage networking, as a communication tool, for gamification or data collection, if used wisely, you’ll be able to increase the effectiveness of your events and your guests’ engagement in them.

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