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3 Ways to Achieve Real Engagement in Your Live Meetings

Marc Crawford
Posted by Marc Crawford
on 07/26/17 05:57 PM

Marc Crawford is the CEO and Co-Founder of Educational Measures and sets the strategic direction for the company. Prior to working at Educational Measures, Marc was a management consultant at Keane Consulting Group. He received his Bachelors of Business Administration degree from Loyola University in Maryland and his Masters in Business Administration degree from the University of Colorado. Marc was recognized in 2012 as a Top 5 Most Influential Young Professional by ColoradoBiz magazine and is Six Sigma certified. Marc is an avid runner and he also enjoys designing and making his kids' halloween costumes every year.

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Engagement is the holy grail of live meeting technology. Everyone is talking about it, reaching for it, and promising it. And while many tools available today can boast that they promote engagement, this claim often proves elusive, rather than attainable. The challenge? Engagement is a fluid concept.

Driving true engagement hinges on finding a tool that does three things:

  1. It must be attractive and interactive. People have to want to use it and have easy access to it.
  2. It must drive value. Engagement should always grow impact and catalyze the meeting goals.
  3. It must be relevant to the content presented. If attendees are engaging with something that isn’t deeply integrated with the content, it’s futile.

When people use the term “engagement,” they can be talking about anything from a learning management system (LMS) or conference app, to a drone or electronic signage. Whatever the tool, engagement must be measured by how it grows the value and objectives of the meeting. Does it produce increased knowledge and learning?

Beyond Conference Apps

In today’s live meeting environment, conference apps are common communication tools used by attendees, but they are not an ideal engagement technology. While these apps can do a number of things, they are simply not designed for promoting engagement during the meeting itself. 

moving beyond conference apps

Current technology offers meeting planners and event hosts a wide array of options, and the best choice is the right combination of several tools.

Let me explain.

Different Phases, Different Tools

The impact of live meetings extends far beyond the time spent in sessions listening to speakers. These gatherings are dynamic events that include pre-event preparations, during-event interactions and presentations, and post-meeting follow-up and analysis.

No one tool can meet the diverse needs of each of these phases.

When we look at the available technology as a collection of tools that can work in conjunction, not competition, we can achieve true live meeting engagement. By combining the unique capabilities of conference apps, second screen technology, and LMS, this possibility becomes reality.

In order to harness optimal engagement, we must first understand the unique role each of these tools play.

1. Engagement with Conference Apps

Conference apps are ideal tools for bringing value to everything that happens outside the meeting room.

They can house agendas and promote specific details about the meeting itself, like accommodations and itineraries. These apps can even be used for communication between attendees.  In short, they are a huge boon to the conference industry for promoting unified messaging and clear information exchange, but there are limitations. 

Conference apps are neither nimble, nor flexible. They are often created before the event and cannot accommodate rapid changes. While conference apps are useful, they are not capable of mirroring the fluidity of the meeting space. Enter: second screen technology.

2. Engagement with Second Screen Technology

Although conference apps perform expertly outside the meeting, second screen technology is the tool of choice within the meeting room. Because this is a fluid environment with constant evolution, meeting organizers need a platform that can create a more meaningful and measurable conversation with participants.

Engaging with second screen technology at live meeting

Real-time content (reflective of last-minute changes to presentations) can be linked to polling questions so planners can gauge audience response and adjust accordingly. Simply giving participants access to content is different than the benefits realized from engaging with that content.

Second screen technology can identify knowledge gaps and be personalized to different learning styles within a single room. It is the optimal choice for data collection and measurement because every touch of the screen can be captured. Reports can then be produced to include questions asked and notes taken for each individual presentation slide.

3. Engagement with an LMS

After the meeting, we must enlist a third type of technology, learning management systems. These tools take the repurposed content from the meeting and put it to use after the meeting. The content is memorialized and made available for asynchronous learning to engage meeting participants far beyond the live meeting.

Meeting Effectiveness Program

Choosing to use only one of these tools to the exclusion of all others is like hiring a general handyman to build you a mansion. The end product may loosely resemble the plans, but the quality will certainly be lacking. If you hire specialists for each aspect (professional tilers, expert carpenters, artisan painters), the resulting mansion will be more precise and functional.

Constructing a live meeting is much the same, and achieving actionable insight from engagement is a similarly challenging task. 

By enlisting the right tools for the right roles, you can harness the benefits of specialization. When meeting planners bring together conference apps with second screen technology and an LMS, engagement can be more than just a trendy buzzword. 

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