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A Meeting Planner's Guide to Gamification

Lindsay Hanzlik
Posted byLindsay Hanzlik
on 02/20/18 03:00 PM

Lindsay Hanzlik is a Content Marketer. She has been the head of marketing in several small businesses in Denver. Her experience spans from B2B professional services to B2C retail. Her roles have overseen all facets of marketing including strategy creation and implementation, end-to-end campaign development, budget management, graphic design, website analytics, and copywriting. She has a degree in writing and is a published poet dedicated to communicating complex concepts in a simple and understandable manner. Lindsay spends her free time with her husband, family, and two pet rabbits. She also has an ever-growing library of hobbies including photography, music, sculpting, baking, and (of course) writing.

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In a recent infographic created by The Muse, research concluded that 92% of meeting participants admit to multitasking during business meetings, and of those multi-taskers, only 49% chiseled away at something work-related. 

Subsequently, the average person in a management-level position has approximately 62 meetings a month with 31 hours of those meetings being reported as “unproductive time.” But, meeting planners should not crumble beneath the pressure of these 31 hours.

To combat the struggles of arranging agendas, engaging participants, collecting meaningful data, and inspiring personal connections, meeting planners should consider infusing gamification into their events. Gamification in simple terms is integrating gaming situations into experiences or contexts not traditionally associated with games. This concept is not just a fad; various studies, like this one from Growth Engineering, have revealed that when gameplay is incorporated into learning, overall brain function, memory retention, and attention span is improved.


There are three basic types of gamification:

  1. Live gamification - The entire audience participates and the moderator hosts during a live meeting

  2. Self-paced gamification - Each individual attendee plays at their own pace at any time

  3. In-app gamification – Incentives-driven engagement within second screen OR Participants are motivated to engaged with rewards or recognition

Different gamification types are valuable and practical for various kinds of events.

Live Gamification 

Imagine a captivated audience, eyes darting wildly from their own device to a larger leaderboard displayed at the front of the room. The facilitator introduces a Wheel of Fortune-like trivia game revolving around the session topic. Participants anxiously and enthusiastically work together to answer questions. After each question is answered, a leaderboard is displayed to show who is at the top and who is falling behind, igniting conversation and comradery.

Facilitated gamification offers a fun and competitive way to analyze attendee knowledge retention, increase engagement, and break up long sessions. Taking a spin on well-known game settings, like Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy, provides a visually appealing and interactive way to enhance the live meeting experience. Integrating gamification will shake things up on-site with head to head competition, team building activities, and networking opportunities.

Self-Paced Gamification 

Unlike facilitated gamification where the presenter spearheads the activity, self-paced gamification is a personalized approach where the audience can play at their own pace. For example, planners may choose to utilize an interactive survey that differentiates the scores of participants based on their “confidence-level.” Players win or lose points based not just on the correctness of their answer, but also on how confident they were that they chose the correct option. 

What could have been a flat, paper survey is transformed to into a competitive and engaging activity that will not only improve the overall meeting experience, but will also garner higher response rates than traditional methods. One advantage of self-paced gamification is its flexibility. It can be offered during a session, before and after meetings, or online as a pre-test/post-test.

Art and Science of Asking Good Questions

Think about this in the context of a meeting: A continuing medical education (CME) symposium begins with a dinner and all attendees are provided with their second screen technology. Each attendee is encouraged to answer a “pre-session” confidence-level questionnaire. When the last speaker has concluded, the same questionnaire is sent out through the audiences’ second screen. The discrepancy between the results from the pre- and post-session questionnaires will show how much information the participants retained and their level of confidence.

In-App Gamification

In-app gamification allows individuals and teams to play second screen technology-based games. This option is best utilized during sessions or at short breaks, as it prompts the audience to proactively explore meeting content.

For example, EM Array™ allows live meeting attendees 25 different interaction options. Attendees can be offered incentives to perform any one of these interactions within Array. These incentives may include earning “badges” or “statuses” by completing specific challenges—like saving a certain number of slides, taking a stylus or typed notes, or rating several speakers. In a live meeting, a facilitator may offer a prize to the participant who takes the most notes, answers the most questions correctly or who asks the most clarifying questions during a session. Creating these achievable rewards drives increased learning.

One Last Thing

Gamification is a strategy for live meeting champions who yearn to enhance their corporate or educational events for participants in a fun way. Through the use of facilitated, self-paced, and in-app gamification, meetings have the potential to become hotbeds of active engagement with nearly limitless possibilities from the collected data.

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