Posts Tagged Mobile Apps for Events

How to Better Engage Attendees at Mandatory Meetings

Engaging Attendees at Mandatory Meetings

Written by Christina Wicklund | Event Marketing Project Lead

Let’s face it, some meetings are mandatory; attendees do not have a choice in the matter. These types of meetings can be challenging even for the tenured planner. How do you get an attendee to want to register for a mandatory meeting? How do you keep them engaged during the meeting? How do you offer a calming more comfortable learning environment? I presented these questions to three SMEs on our Global Enterprise Solutions team to discover the current tips and tricks for making the most out of mandatory meetings.

Jessica Menzer, HMCC, Strategic Account Manager, had plenty of insight to offer based on her 15 years of experience in meeting planning. “As we are all aware, registration is vital to a smooth-running meeting. All factors of an event are based on the quantity of attendees – room size, seating style, quantity of food, transportation to offsite events, staff on hand, the list is endless. It is essential invitees register, that is why marketing is imperative for events, including mandatory ones.”

When asked how she entices attendees to register for a meeting they don’t have a choice in attending. Jessica stated “start with a Save the Date invite with plenty of time in advance. Choose an appealing destination with a hotel located near attractions, shops and restaurants.” She continued by suggesting the use of airport hotels that are easy to maneuver to and from the airport, especially for 1-day meetings. In addition to the points above, Jessica recommends to always reveal some agenda content in advance of the event. By focusing on clear communication and the value of the mandatory meeting, planners can generate excitement and drive registrations for even the most reluctant invitee.

Once the attendees have registered, the question becomes how planners keep them engaged during a meeting that they must attend, Paquita McCray shared a plethora of ideas. Paquita has been working in this industry for more than 15 years, she is also a Strategic Account Manager at M&IW. One of Paquita’s suggestions is interactive meeting technology with electronic tablets for all participants. Tablets, such as EM-Array, have multiple uses and keep attendees interacting throughout the event. When using tablets at a meeting make sure the following items are installed prior to the start of the meeting.

  • Agenda – ability to update as needed
  • Hotel Map – meeting, breakfast, lunch, dinner and break room locations clearly marked
  • Presentation Slides – attendees can take notes and save slides for future reference
  • Audience Response System (ARS) and Live Polling Questions
  • Speaker Bios
  • Surveys, Session Evaluations and Certificates of Attendance
  • Interactive Games – Jeopardy and Wheel of Fortune format is popular and questions can be customized based on the objective and content of the meeting

Additionally, many global mandatory meetings have multilingual participation. Setting up multilingual capabilities for attendees will help with engagement. To ensure clear communication, provide translation services when needed. When attendees submit questions and opinions through the tablet, give them the ability to enter questions in their local language. Ensure prior to the event that the tablet is programed to translate the question to the group/moderator.

A must-have on everyone’s list, especially for mandatory meetings, is a mobile app. Mobile apps generate engagement throughout the event – pre, during and post. Apps provide attendees up-to-the-minute information and event navigation at their fingertips. This form of technology also enhances and brings events to life via the energy of registered attendees, which is very helpful when applied to mandatory meetings.

Paquita also recommends scheduling presentations to rotate speakers; nothing is worse on one’s attention span than sitting through the same speaker for three topics, especially if the content is dry. Adjust the presentation styles and make sure speakers are dynamic. Review the decks prior to avoid speakers duplicating information.

The last great piece of advice that Paquita offered is to make sure you schedule in adequate breaks and white space. If there is a longer presentation, break it up into part one and part two with a break in between. Attendees often lose interest or focus on their own work rather than focusing on the presenter if there is too much content in one sitting.

Steve Lorenz, CMP, HMCC, one of M&IW’s Sr. Account Leads with 28 years’ experience, suggested to always book a room with natural lighting when possible. As we all know this isn’t always possible, when that is the case, decorate the entrance, stage and room with plants to provide a calming more comfortable learning environment. He also recommended breakout sessions or workshops where attendees are separated into participant types. This gives the client the ability to cover information that is more specific to each participant, such as having an investigator session separate from a study coordinator session with medical meetings. Doing this keeps the attendees engaged and interacting with their direct peers.

By utilizing these tips from our M&IW’s subject matter experts, planners will generate pre-meeting excitement, attendee engagement and offer a conducive learning environment at their next mandatory meeting.

 

Posted in: Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Pharmaceutical, Medical and HCP Compliance, Program Management & Event Design

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Beyond Features: A More Comprehensive Look at Mobile Apps

Mobile Apps Events

Written by Tim LaFleur, CMP | Director, Mobile Solutions & Strategy

At M&IW, we are extremely proud of the fact that we have consistently been a top consultant provider when it comes to making the most out of your meeting and event application. When I took on the role of Director of Mobile Solutions & Strategy to lead M&IW’s initiative, I knew we would need to go beyond the basic app features, utilize our comprehensive understanding of event operations, and dive deep into clients specific needs to create a service that has since become best practice in the industry.

Our process is to look beyond the feature and to not take it at face value. We evaluate the various app sections as buckets of functionality independent from their face value functionality (i.e. speakers, schedule, sponsors, etc.). Thinking about a section in terms of the functions that a module holds, opens a world of possibilities to create something special for the client.

The best app consultancy services think in terms of a three-pronged stool and if one of the legs falls short, the stool is bound to be off balance and fall apart. Each leg is represented by an area of competency including utilizing a superior app technology platform where the functionality contained within each module is dynamic; the understanding of events and how various event aspects may depend or seamlessly flow into one another; and a keen awareness of our client’s specific needs and overall event objectives. Being uniquely positioned to understand all three components of the three-pronged stool, allows the users to take full advantage of the application’s platform and intended purpose. Taking time to vet and ask many questions about the platforms will allow for a level understanding similar to that of the technology provider themselves. Combined with a unique perspective on apps and knowledge of how the meetings and events flow, allows for a unique vantage point to craft the apps for a client. In the end, we have not simply filled in the individual features, but a technology solution that solves the mobile needs of a conference has been developed.

To illustrate a best-practice approach consider the following:

Social Features and Social Walls. Consider this feature question, “Does the attendee’s post go to social media with a specific hashtag and then pulled back down by the social wall to display on a screen or does the social wall bring attendees posts over without having to go out into social media?” The first scenario may pose confidentiality and security concerns. Additionally, does the social wall display pictures and text together as it was submitted on the feed or does it separate out various post elements. Based on how these questions are answered determines how the specific feature can be utilized and if the technology is a fit for the specific event.

If we simply check the box stating the app supports social wall and do not ask how, we are short-changing the potential use or functionality. Perhaps an event organizer wanted a social wall, but there were privacy concerns and it was assumed that the posts flowed through social media without understanding the functionality of the feature and because of that basic assumption the feature was not utilized. Where in reality the feature could have been utilized while maintaining privacy if the execution of feature was discovered and right platform selected.

Interactive Floor Plan. If the floor plan features utilize heat mapping or pin dropping to outline the location of a room this leads to other questions that affect the attendee experience with this feature. For example, will heat mapping adequately map a room that is not a standard square or rectangle? If there is a ballroom that is used in the morning for general session, but then breakouts later in the day, how does the heat mapped area handle that layering or is there the need to create multiple maps to illustrate?

When considering a pin system think about the following. An attendee is looking at the maps, can they tell which pin is which and distinguish between ones that are clustered together? This is similar to the pin drop conundrum in a geolocation map section as well as a floor plan section. Does the technology provider have the ability to filter out by type, view in list or search by a particular name? The answers to all the questions, regardless of if it is macro or micro function to the app, affect the way it operates, the attendee experience and the way that we consult with our clients. In short, there is no question too trivial since the answer can have a profound effect on event design and the attendee experience. Knowing the right questions to ask is developed over time and with experience.

Next time you are tasked with implementing a mobile app for your program, consider the following:

  • Does the app provider I am partnering with provide dynamic feature functionality and what elements flow together and interact?
  • Does this technology solve the three main “must haves” identified in this article that drive our event design and attendee experience?
  • Do I feel comfortable with the app, because if not, chances are my attendees won’t either?
  • Do I understand and are we utilizing the features to their full functionality to address our event technology needs or are we simply taking the features at face value?

These four simple questions will open a world of opportunities for better communication efficiency, a more engaged audience, and greater return on your next program.

Posted in: Company News, Conferences & Tradeshows, Data Analytics, Business Intelligence & Consulting, Event Marketing & Communications, Event Technology & Mobility Solutions, Program Management & Event Design

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