by Emily Giunta, CLE Inc.
• Memorable and effective attendee engagement
• Interactive audio
• Giving each attendee a voice
Attendee engagement during meetings and events is…(shout out your answer!)
In the events world, there are a variety of ways to finish that sentence. Think about your answer. Was it influenced by your style as a meeting planner? Or the type of event you were imagining? Or maybe a specific problem you have had in the past?
Whatever your answer, I bet it wasn’t “unimportant.” Whether you filled in the blank with “critical,” “fun,” “challenging,” or any other descriptor, it’s clear that you understand that audience engagement is an important part of meetings and events.
As a meeting planner, you need engaged attendees in order to get your message across and gain feedback or information through interaction. As a meeting attendee, you want to be engaged in interesting and effective ways so you can leave with knowledge and information…and not fall asleep in the middle of the conference.
As an event production company, we view our job as helping you to fill in that blank. We understand that attendee engagement is mission critical in order for you to deliver your message. This goes beyond just providing good microphones that enhance a speaker’s voice, or high quality speakers that allow every attendee to hear what is being said. It means that we think of ways for your audience not just to hear the message, but to experience the message. One way we do that is scouring the market for new technologies that enhance an attendee’s experience.
I want to highlight two pieces of event technology that help create memorable and effective attendee engagement. One is the Catchbox throwable microphone and another is the Crowd Mics app.
Let’s start with the Catchbox. The Catchbox is a lightweight, soft, throwable microphone. The nature of it is more inviting than a traditional microphone. No need to have mic runners or handheld mics on stands around the room. Catchbox turns Q&A into an energetic, full contact experience rather than a passive moment in your program. Using Catchbox helps to break the Fourth Wall between your speaker and your audience—and by doing so, it removes barriers that typically allow attendees to zone out during self-selected audience participation moments.
Not only is it an interesting and enjoyable way to get people to participate, your audience will actually hear the questions and comments. The Catchbox’s cushiony exterior protects the [wireless lapel] microphone inside. It has an automute function that automatically mutes the microphone as it is being thrown through the air—or bouncing on the ground if your audience has similar hand-eye coordination skills as me. It is easy to throw and catch; athletic ability not required. Custom covers can be made in your choice of color and branded with company or event logos.
What we love about the Catchbox: it’s easy to manage, just pop in a beltpack mic, screw on the foam top, and toss away—and it’s an inexpensive way to bring some energy to your event.
Here is what, MPI Heartland Chapter President and Director of Sales for Dubuque CVB, Julie Kronlage has to say about Catchbox. “The Catchbox added fun and excitement to one of our sessions at our recent MPI Heartland Annual meeting. It added value to our session as more of our attendees wanted to “catch” it so that they could provide their input, and of course get to use this great new tool. I look forward to incorporating it into future events!”
Another event technology option is the Crowd Mics app. The brilliance of the Crowd Mics app is that it meets your audience where they are, literally. Instead of a traditional microphone, attendees’ smartphones become their microphone. Imagine, being able to give an individual microphone to everyone in your audience! (Don’t worry, there is a mute function.)
Crowd Mics launched their company in February 2014 at The Launch Event in San Francisco. After just two years they received the Event Tech of the Year award for 2016.
The Crowd Mics app can be downloaded on Apple and Android devices for free. Your AV team then needs the Atom Hardware box (a low profile and simple-to-connect piece of hardware) added to their system along with a solid network, and it will
transform phones into individual, interactive control centers.
With voice commenting, text commenting, and live polling, Crowd Mics gives you an option for complete audience interaction. “Crowd Mics is all about inclusion and allows people to participate the way they want to,” Sean Holladay, CMO, Owner Crowd Mics, remarked.
This app is about as simple as it comes. There is no preliminary work leading up to the event (loading schedules, speaker profiles, etc), once it is set up it is ready to use.