Digital technology has revolutionised the options open to corporate event planners. So, it’s not surprising that many feel a little bamboozled by the latest trends on offer. When you are investing in new technology you want to make sure that you’re doing it for the right reasons. And, when I’m advising clients, there is only one reason that counts: it adds value to your event.
When making a choice whether or not to use technology, always keep the purpose of your meeting or event in mind. Choose technology that is easy to use and encourages the highest level of engagement. Here are some examples:
Most delegates expect this as standard now. Whatever else you are planning, enabling people to get connected online quickly and at no cost is a MUST.
Wireless charging points
This means exactly what it says, that clients can charge mobile devices without the need for plugs or wires. Installing this technology on bars and tables is likely to be welcomed by guests, but at the moment it is a bonus rather than an essential but that will change soon – so get ahead.
Think about social media not simply as a means to get your message out there but about building relationships with clients and prospective clients. Setting up familiar social networking tools such as a Facebook page and Twitter hashtag is not simply about you posting headlines from your event, it is about getting delegates involved in the discussion, so that even if they can’t be on the platform their opinion can be heard all the same. These simple technologies are also easy ways to extend the reach of your event beyond those present on the day.
Mobile event apps
These are more costly and the size of your event will help you to decide if this is the right investment for you. For large conferences and events, it is an investment that can save a lot of time and in many cases money too. Creating a bespoke app allows you to make the most of guests’ smart phone and tablet technologies, creating a central source for any information about the event, which can be easily updated. Apps can provide a safe and central online space to share information and connect with other delegates. It can be a place to access relevant materials after the event, such as video playback of key speeches or product launches, and can also be used as an additional platform for sponsors to advertise relevant products and services. There are also some fabulous survey apps that allow clients to survey delegates regarding workshop topics ahead of a conference. And for charity events, new apps that allow online bidding in your charity auction to take place before the dinner is served.
At one time the audience for conference presentations was limited to whoever could get a ticket to be in the room. Many events now reach a global audience through live video or audio streaming. You may get back the money you invest in this technology from delegates who pay to sign up for this virtual access. Recording your presentations in this way also provides a way for the content to live on after the event, enabling you to get your message out to the widest possible audience.
Audience Response Systems
These are a great option for large conferences when speakers want to get an immediate response from audience members or perhaps want to challenge audience perceptions by asking a question that most people would answer in a different way to that which research suggests. It is a good choice for those wanting to more fully engage an audience and can be used effectively for remote attendees too – think the BBC red button which allows viewers to join in with programmes.
Captured on camera
Drones are commonly used now for getting the up-close photographs at sporting events that otherwise wouldn’t be possible. If you are hosting a large outdoor event and want to get some creative aerial shots this technology is a good choice. However, for most events I would also recommend you have a photographer on the ground as well.
When there are so many high-tech choices on offer it can be easy to overlook the developments in essential technology like lighting, which can completely change the atmosphere of a room. When booking your event ask about controllable LED mood-lighting. As well as using colour and brightness to create the right ambience for your event, you can also use mood-lighting to colour-wash a wall in any shade you choose. Lighting is a production – an essential ingredient to any successful event and, if done well, can be a show-stopping performance.