An early spring morning at a yacht club in San Francisco, the event AV crew gathers before dawn. They take a photo of the full moon reflecting off the black water of the bay, the quiet Golden Gate Bridge in the foreground. Gear trucks back into place and the lift gates slam down. Twenty men, all in black, unload large heavy cases full of cable, LED panels, truss, and speakers.
Hours later, the audio department is chasing down open radio frequencies, battling Chinese cargo ships rolling into the Bay. Lighting department is finding the best color match to the 12 foot LED wall. So much technology has been built and tested, and the event still wont start for hours.
Finally, as guests start to arrive, the curtain is closed, the techs rest behind stage, and the presenters are mic’d up. Background music fades, lights are set to show level, and the presenters greet everyone.
Twenty minutes later, the show is over, the guests are asked to leave, and the crew beings to strike the equipment.
Is that it? Did all that labor, all that equipment, and all that technology just go into a 20 minute presentation with no interactivity, no engagement, no audience participation? It feels almost wrong!
Here are the top 10 best ways to improve your event’s interactivity.
Don’t settle for the classic event and treat your audiences like warm bodies in a room. Engage with them and interact. Here is how.
#10 – Audience Q & A
This is an easy one and the most common. At the end of each presentation or fireside chat, the audience is invited to take a microphone and ask questions. Isn’t it funny how some people love the mic, but never ask a question?
#9 – Hashtags and Tweets
Most events create a custom hashtag so social media users can browse the tweets and pictures from other attendees. Sometimes, missed connections are solved by going back and reviewing every post, examining every picture, and triangulating the position of the guest and estimating the time of day based on the crowd and ambient lighting. Well, perhaps it isn’t that epic, but the data is there!
#8 – On Location Instagram Printers
If there are custom hashtags and tweets. You can find internet enabled printers which open those hashtag results and automatically print every image that results. It is like turning your entire event into one large free photobooth. Staff can stay on hand to post them creatively on a cork board for guests to take home or leave for more pictures of pictures.
#7 – Twitter Wall
While we are covering our hashtag bases, might as well throw in a curated twitter wall too! This is like the Instagram printers, but now the tweets and images are selected to be projected and displayed on monitors or LED walls around the venue. These are constantly updated, clean and cheap, as well as being curated so no one can spam or troll your event.
#5 – Catchbox Mic
Don’t tell anyone, but the catchbox mic is really just a plushy box for a typical wireless microphone. Who knew!? These are really fun, when they work. It is tough to get them just right because the mics work best closer to your face (better signal to noise ratio). Also, if you chuck these boxes too hard, they can open mid flight and sling a little metal battery box at someone. Like I said, they are fun! Just toss them to anyone who wants to make a comment or ask a question and they can toss it when they are done. It gets people awake, more inclined to ask a question, and adds playful value to a presentation.
#4 – Live Stream Your Show
Unless your party is super exclusive and secretive, you might as well live stream to Facebook or YouTube and let your greater community in on some of the action. In our fast paced world, we need to be presented with our interests as soon as they are available. The phone is competing for your attention, so going live helps the phone send your event direct to your fans.
#3 – Video Conferencing
Live streaming is cool and feels so immediate, but it still has 30 seconds of delay compared to video conferencing. You can set up a system so that audiences in theaters around the world can all ask questions, interact, and discuss with each other in real time. Not to mention, see each other too! It is so amazing what is possible with high speed internet and we are only now realizing its potential.
#2 – Live Stream Video Conference AND Chat
Talk about a lot of signal flow to figure out! You can, and we have done it, set up a multi-camera switch in two locations which are video conferenced to each other and then re-cut to be live streamed to the world. What is the point? Well our client had this problem to solve where they needed people in the field to watch the stream and ask questions via chat. They didn’t have the internet speed to video conference themselves, or even interact much beyond watching, so this was a great way to give a diverse audience exactly what they needed. Tailored experiences for audiences is the fundamental part of catering an event for them.
#1 – ALL OF THEM!
Okay, so maybe a cop out for #1, but seriously, you might as well do every single one of these things. After all, they are readily available, we have used all of them on different events, and each method is interactive for different personalities and diverse audience types. Some folks don’t like to speak, or maybe can’t, so give them the opportunity to share pictures and text. Other people wish they were on stage, so give them a soap box… or a catch box. Anyone who didn’t know about the event or just couldn’t make it should still full fill their dream of being there with live streaming.
At Repertoire Productions, we’re experienced with all of these aspects of an event. We aren’t sharing this to try and up sell silly elements of a show, they really add value to an experience. It is just such a shame that so much time and money goes into a lack luster event unless the audience has tools to feel involved. Event planners need to sell companies and organizations on a vision. Making it just like a TED talk used to be good enough, but now that has been done. There are even TED talks about how to make TED talks!
Get in touch with us to book any of these services and we’ll set up you with the right crew and tools to make it a success.