Apps are a pretty common part of all of our lives now. We use them for all manner of personal and business needs, and most of us have at least one app we couldn’t live without. But have you ever considered using an event app during a live event presentation?

It may seem intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be. In fact, with the right tools and a little bit of practice, event apps can help you take your next conference event to a whole new level. From understanding more about your audience, receiving and responding to key questions, and increasing delegate engagement – it’s hard to find a reason NOT to use an event app!

Using an event app to understand your delegates

Do you ever wish you knew what your delegates were thinking?

I don’t mean hours later as you mix and mingle post-event. And I certainly don’t mean days (or weeks) later when you finally sit down to sort through piles of surveys and evaluations.

No, I’m talking about knowing what’s going through their minds while you’re literally mid-presentation!

Of course you can always use hand raising…

  • Half the group can’t hear what’s being said.
  • Multiple questions always seem to get repeated/restated.
  • You risk that “one” delegate who gets going and just cannot be stopped.
  • Not to mention the questions that no one will ask (or things they won’t say) because they don’t want to risk being embarrassed or looking foolish.

If you’re thinking that hand raising may not be the best way to go, I agree! It might work occasionally, especially in smaller groups, but it isn’t very sustainable. When you have large groups, quick moving presentations, or spacious venues, you need more advanced tools! So what can be done?

The power of a strong event app

I’d suggest using an event app with live question and polling features. We’ll dig into the details in a moment, but here’s the big picture.

Live interaction via an event app is a way to increase audience engagement. In addition, you can really get your attendees involved in each and every presentation or session.

Want some examples?

Last year we hosted the Women in Public Sector Summit in Auckland. Speaker Anne Elder-Knight utlised an event app with live polling during her time onstage. It created high audience engagement and interaction in a room filled with 500+ delegates. Throughout this post, we’ll include feedback from conference delegates on how the event app enhanced their experience!

Imagine being at a conference and feeling as if you were actually interacting with hundreds of delegates, all in the same room, but with no physical movement necessary.  Everyone is highly engaged with each speaker’s content, and the speaker is able to make adjustments and respond to attendees in real time. 

When you have that level of engagement, it’s not unusual for people to be shocked when the presentation ends and they realise that it’s really over. Instead of checking their watches to find out how soon they can escape, they’re checking because they can’t believe how that much time already flew by!

How is this possible? A great event app! 

Common features on Event Apps

With a live question feature from an event app like Socio or Slido, you can have your delegates type their questions (or responses to your questions) into their phones live. Those responses can go to the speaker’s monitor, or even be displayed live by projecting onto the screen in the room. (Never fear: you can use a moderator to screen comments before they hit the big screen if you’d like!)

Not only does this get delegates participating in a tangible, immediate way, but it connects them to others as well. As they see the questions and insights their peers are sharing, their own thinking is stymied. It’s a win-win for sure!

“I loved the interactive-ness of the sessions. You were able to view and add weight to the discussion questions from other participants in real time, and it also gave me time to form my questions more meaningfully.”

Delegates can be given the option to “up-vote” the questions being asked, which means the speaker can spend time addressing things the majority of people actually want to hear more about. Not only can everyone SEE what the question is, they can communicate about whether they want to know more about it! They can also weigh in with follow-up queries of their own. Another great feature? Anonymous sending. Participants have the option to share their thoughts and questions without sharing their names. This is great for topics that may feel controversial, introverts who don’t want extra attention, or questions that people may deem “silly”. The anonymous feature does wonders in increasing the number of responses!

“I really liked the question function of the app. I think it was an excellent way to ask questions and it prevented people from grandstanding!!”

Using delegate engagement to measure success

When you attempt to measure the success of a certain speaker or presentation, you can’t just consider how many people were present in the room. A mandatory session might be packed out…but not because people are benefitting! 

“It was very interactive, and it was good to see the live poll.”

Delegate engagement and participation can be an excellent way of measuring the success of a speaker or conference. Were people genuinely interested? Did the session spark new ideas and thoughts? Did delegates share reflections that were evidence of growth or breakthroughs?

Those are all signs of success!

“Congratulations to the team for pulling out the content, speakers and the technology needed to escalate the quality of the event. A great investment.

Using poll features to increase delegate engagement

In addition to allowing you to ask questions, event apps can also enable speakers or conference organisers to create polls. These live polls are a powerful way to check for understanding, discover specific audience needs and interests, and ensure that presentations stay compelling throughout the whole day.

Delegates enjoy being able to respond to speakers and information in real time. Just as you don’t want to wait all day for feedback, they don’t want to wait to give it! A successful conference event allows delegates to feel seen and heard all day, not just for a few minutes while filling out their evaluation form.

“Her 6 Mountains of the Mind presentation (internal barriers) was really useful, and the interactive component made it highly engaging”

In addition, poll responses can often reveal surprises about where your audience may be struggling. Being able to anonymously rate their satisfaction, their knowledge, or their optimism on a certain idea certainly leads to new insight!

Can event apps save you money?

If all this delegate engagement and enhanced participation isn’t enough…

You can save money by using an event app as well!

Rather than printing surveys and questionnaires (and then providing pens to fill them out with), you can use your event app to electronically gather session information. Delegates can access the event app for free, from both Google Play and Apple Store. Most online surveys can be filled out in a matter of minutes. (Better yet: you can create the whole poll or survey in a matter of minutes yourself!)

Once the conference event is completed, you can simply export the poll results. If you had multiple speakers, you can easily send them their feedback and results electronically. No compiling, sorting, or scanning required!