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How To Know What An Audience Is Thinking

When holding an in-depth conference or meeting, the last thing you want is your audience leaving without retaining much, or worse, any information. This all-too-frequent occurrence can leave a conference planner feeling as though their efforts didn’t quite meet the mark.

So how, exactly, do you execute a meeting that leaves attendees with a wealth of information they’ll actually remember? By getting your presenters to assess the needs of your audience, maximize attentiveness, and boost engagement. In this post, we’ll show you how to gain these crucial elements and introduce you to the groundbreaking tools that help planners and speakers achieve their retention goals.


Audience Engagement

In order to properly maximize learning and retention, you absolutely must narrow the focus of a conference to audience engagement. Engagement that yields real results goes far beyond getting a few laughs or hand-raises from your audience, however, and missing opportunities for strong engagement can lead to a forgettable conference. Strong engagement is the sole key to unlocking adult learning and retention.

Ensure Relevance: This first step in engaging your attendees is to ensure your subject matter is relevant. Relate to real-world problems and solutions that affect most, if not all, of your audience. As humans, we tend to care more about the things that concern us directly. By ensuring relevance, the audience is drawn into the topic and will want to remember the things they learn.

Ask Questions: While many speakers ask questions during a presentation, it often involves a ‘yes’ or ‘no’ question and a quick show of hands. Take it further. Ask the audience real questions to measure what they already know about a topic and what concepts would be most useful to them.  Find out if they grasp a concept and you can move on or need to use a remediation loop.  Get the thinking, talking, and debating and sharing their own expertise.

This may sound difficult when your attendee count is 300 people versus 30, but utilizing simple and dynamic tools like audience response systems can make this task easier than ever, no matter the size of your audience. When an audience is involved with the speaker, their attentiveness can increase by 88% and they are 27% more likely to retain information.


Play and Interact: In addition to asking questions, really get your audience involved by utilizing surveys, games, or even voting systems, which allow speakers to gain a sense of the audience and adapt in real-time.

Playing games with an audience of adult learners helps them retain information at a much higher rate than simply observing a presentation. This is especially true for young adult learners, as they are a very tech-driven group that will react well to audience response system-based games. Playing reward-based games that incorporate a point system and promote teamwork and motivation also get the audience actively involved and help to retain even more information.

The Right Tools for the Job

Now that we’ve covered ways to use audience engagement to boost adult learning and retention, it’s time to learn more about the specific tools needed to do so. While these tools engage audiences of 10 people, 1000 people, or any number in between, they may sound like a complex hassle, which is actually not true.

Audience Response Systems are an easy and dynamic way to fully incorporate engagement into your conference. These systems meet learning and retention goals by utilizing several different means of engagement as follows.

  • Voting
  • Polling
  • Learning Games
  • Audience Surveys
  • Question and Answer Sections
  • Interactive Powerpoint presentations

At Option Technologies, we’re the industry leader in providing the right tools to maximize engagement, learning, and retention for conference speakers, planners, and directors alike. If you’re ready to take your conferences and meetings to new dynamic heights, contact us today and let’s get started!

Audience Response for Conferences

Posted by Mark Fite

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