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Posts Tagged ‘conference technology’

Spicy Ideas: Review of IACC’s Hybrid Events Webinar

Friday, December 9th, 2011

The team at NCC gathers to watch the IACC hybrid events webinar

Watching an IACC webinar was like sitting in a living room with a wise relative. The speaker Samuel J. Smith told the audience a few things we already knew about the family and brought a whole lot of knowledge that you wished you had a pad of paper and pen to write down. For concepts we weren’t already implementing, his ideas made us say, “How clever! I never thought about that.” In this case, we did take notes and tweeted ideas that others might find interesting.  A mix of individuals from our conference planning team, catering and marketing team attended the hybrid events webinar hosted by IACC. Thoughts we found interesting were:

  • Ideabooks and t-shirts for your virtual attendees – Samuel Smith recommends sending virtual attendees a physical gift to make them feel just as important as if they were attending in person.
  • Create action – By moving the camera angles and not leaving a camera in one position, this creates create for the attendee and is more exciting for them to watch.
  • Breaks aren’t the same for virtual attendees – Virtual attendees are able to go refill their coffee and use the restroom during breaks but don’t have the same networking experience. Samuel Smith highly suggests filling breaks with custom content for virtual attendees which also makes them feel equally valued.
  • Don’t exert all efforts into hybrid – This will make the face-to-face attendees feel less significant. It should be the perfect amount of attention divided between the two audiences.

This was the first in an almost monthly series by The Conference Publishers and IACC. The content was easily understandable for all levels of planners. Some concepts were considered common sense to an experienced planner; planning experience in our room ranged from 20+ years of planning all the way down to the start of a career. Other concepts resonated with the planners and spun into a conversation during the webinar, meaning the content served it’s purpose and was valuable to the virtual audience.

With most webinars, attendees could type in live questions and have them directly answered by the speaker during the session. Our blog post, Spicy Ideas: IACC’s NEW Bright Ideas Webinar Series featured the details of the series. It’s a different topic each session and lucky for planners who are tired of the same content, it’s something new that isn’t over-discussed and tired. View the upcoming sessions on IACC’s webinar events page.

Conference Apps: Know What Should Be Included In Yours

Thursday, November 10th, 2011

When is the right time to create an app for your event? The answer is before your attendees become overwhelmed by a folder filled with the agenda, speaker bios, and local information. At Event Camp East Coast, a2z Inc was an event sponsor and created an app for the attendees. The platform was easy to use and demonstrated the potential the app had for planners who were planning other conferences.

Full Conference Schedule – Before arriving at the venue, attendees were able to download the EventCamp app and view where registration was located as well as when and where the first session would begin. For someone who wanted to arrive right at the end of registration, it was a sigh of relief to already know the room number. The schedule function meant one less hand-out which can be overwhelming between pre-conference e-mails and other packets. It also included scheduled times for rest and relaxation and refreshment breaks.

Speakers – This is where you could list your speakers alphabetically with their background and expertise. Whether it’s apps or on audience polling technology, speakers’ biographies are more well-received by an attendee who can read the information on a device while listening to the speaker – a multitasking culture in true form.

Local Info – Want to tell your attendees about the property or the mission of the conference? Provide them with important information, event maps, and other details in this section.

Twitter – Why not keep it within your app? Keep your attendees’ attention by placing a Twitter tool within the app, click on the Twitter button and it will open to display tweets that contain your event’s hashtag.

Buzz – This was my favorite concept from the Event Camp East Coast app by a2z. News, changes and any comments could be posted by attendees.  Greg Ruby, a meeting planner who attended the conference shared buzz like “Axe Throwing – The first break this morning is being reduced from 15 to 5 minutes to allow us to watch axe throwing at 10:30 in front of the main building.”

Other tools a2z included in the Event Camp app: my planner, to organize exhibitors and sessions that are of interest; and event info, which explains the conference itself.  Although Event Camp unconferences are usually made up of small audiences around 20 – 50 people, the app was still resourceful and also demonstrated its capabilities for other events. With such a small group, it’s easier to communicate amongst each other rather than posting on the app or following Tweets. However, for conferences that are larger, I recommend an app similar to the one a2z designed in order to communicate with attendees and create a warmer event. Congratulations to a2z for a well-design app that effortlessly sold itself to the Event Camp attendees.