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Technology and Meetings and Events: How Much is Too Much or Not Enough?

How do you determine when to use technology for your meeting or event, what technology to use, how to be sure that your are using technology effectively and is the technology that you are using more than you need or not being useful?This opens or should open a lot of conversation. For instance, let’s start with old fashioned polling systems. You remember those, don’t you? The room had to be completely wired for their use and everyone had a hand set for polling at their seat.

During the presentation the speaker would present questions relevant to the topic and the responses would show up on the big screen in front.

The original wired sets and their technology worked very well. Of course, there had to be labor charges from the vendor to set it all up. Several companies provided this service.

For the last 8-10 years, there have been other ways to accomplish this thanks to Wi-Fi.The old-fashioned wired systems cost quite a bit due to the labor required and of course the wirelessproprietary systems had to pay for new technology.  Today, we use the venue Wi-F, for a fee, of course, and use the attendees’ smartphones or supply wireless handsets that often look surprisingly similar to a smartphone. Used with thought and planning, the ROI on these can be excellent.

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Now to get back to one part of my question. Of course we want to use the latest and coolest technology, but do you need to do polling? Quite possibly, but the important part is, are you using this effectively. What I mean is, that clearly, you can ask questions just for the sake of asking them, but are you asking or polling important questions that could have real relevance to your conference, association or publication? Don’t just come up with half a dozen questions that don’t add value or could be answered simply by a show of hands. Ask complex questions that add to or possibly, are, part of the development of a white paper or future planning.  If you’re not using this wisely, save the money for something else.

Here are some points on developing questions that count:

  1. Define your objective for the polling
  2. List that objectives or those objectives
  3. Write a first draft of questions based on the contents of your session
  4.  Be sure that your questions are not written in a way to subtly lead to a specific answer as that will make the answers biased and irrelevant to the objectives
  5. The questions can be true or false questions or multiple choice
  6. The questions should require a moment of contemplation, which means that they’re well written
  7.  Questions for polling should be more than do you agree or disagree with…
  8. Don’t be afraid of the results. What if the attendees don’t agree with your session? What a learning exercise that could be. What if you’re writing a book or a white paper? Think of the wonderful information that you now have in spite of the fact that you may need to rework your own body of research.

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