My event: A real life test

Hi, my name is Lena, I am responsible for an annual event arranged by our company. It typically attracts 250-300 participants. This is a short description of how I used BeamWriter before, during and after this year’s event. My aim was to make the conference even more interesting for all involved, by including a digital add-on channel for increased interaction.
Feel free to copy and reuse any of my ideas if they can boost your own event! 

 

1. The call for presentations phase

The “call-for-presentations” was announced 6 months prior to the conference. As the program filled up I made personal contact with every speaker to synchronize the agenda and agree an introduction text to be used in the conference program. At the same time I gave a short demonstration of BeamWriter and encouraged them to think about how they could use this tool to create interaction with the participants. As a follow up to that I sent every speaker a personal email. You can see some examples by selecting the buttons below.

The conference was set up with a “high profile” keynote speaker in the morning, followed by two parallel breakout sessions, each with 5 speakers, before a closing keynote session in the afternoon.

Out of 12 speakers total, 8 chose to use BeamWriter for interaction with the audience. 2 had previous experience and set up their own services, while I did the rest in less than 30 minutes, including testing.

I also took the time to set up a basic feedback service for all presentations. This would enable the participants to rate each presentation with a negative, neutral or positive score, along with free text comments. (A more detailed feedback service, using “Net Promoter Score” is available, but was not used for this event).

Read more about the two feedback services by using the links below:

2. Two days before the conference

Two days before the conference I wanted to “warm up” the participants to using BeamWriter. At the same time, for admin preparations, I needed to get a fair indication on how many people we could expect for each of the two break out sessions.
So I prepared 5 services as shown here:

Next, I started beaming these five services and then wrote an email to all participants.  You can view a version of this message by clicking the button below.

By noon the following day around 70% of the participants had registered their choice of parallel session.  The list of participants and the agenda beam had been visited some 150 – 170 times. More than 80 persons had responded to the beam “Why did you register for this event?”

I made a note to collect updated statistics on this just prior to  startup tomorrow morning, for use in the welcome address.

The conference was set up with a “high profile” keynote speaker in the morning, followed by two parallel breakout sessions, each with 5 speakers, before a closing keynote session in the afternoon.

Out of 12 speakers total, 8 chose to use BeamWriter for interaction with the audience. 2 had previous experience and set up their own services, while I did the rest in less than 30 minutes, including testing.

I also took the time to set up a basic feedback service for all presentations. This would enable the participants to rate each presentation with a negative, neutral or positive score, along with free text comments. (A more detailed feedback service, using “Net Promoter Score” is available, but was not used for this event).

Read more about the two feedback services by using the links below:

3. Conference day

At the start of the conference I made sure that everybody got to know the three event codes for the day, one for the plenary sessions and one for each break out session. I recommend short, simple codes, easy to remember and easy to tap in on small devices.

There were still a few participants who had not downloaded the app or tried out the web service.
My experience is that quite a few people are reluctant to installing new apps on their devices. I had made a few posters in the conference hall, displaying a QR code which would guide them directly to the web service. (For my next event I will try to include this QR code on the individual participant badges).
You may try out this yourself by scanning the QR image below, then enter the event code sep.

I left the 2 beams showing conference agenda and list of participants on on for most of the day. Other Services were turned on and off according to the agenda. You can see some example screenshots in the slider below.

4. Summary and lessons learned

Overall we were quite satisfied with the audience interaction during this event. There were more questions asked and comments given to the presenters than in earlier years. Our conference host was very professional and quick at combining several questions into a short challenge, which the individual presenters could comment on at the end of their sessions.

Several presenters asked me for a list of questions and comments, and said they would like to review these, and where applicable, give me some answers which we could publish on our website after the conference. A great follow up opportunity!

Around 50% of the participants took the time to rate individual presentations and the overall event. Most of them just registered a short “grade”  (positive-neutral-negative). However quite a few also left free text comments, some of which I certainly will use in our internal after action discussions and in preparations for the next event. Below you can see a few examples of feedback statistics.

Some lessons learned:

  • Take some time to demonstrate the features and motivate each speaker in advance. If this is their first time using BeamWriter or similar tools, help them prepare relevant services.
  • Find a way to prepare the participants/audience a few days prior to the event. Beaming services with the list of participants and latest version of the program will normally trigger their curiosity. Perhaps spice it up a little with a relevant poll/vote service which can be referred to at the opening address. This way they will come prepared to use the interactive services on event day. 
  • Don’t expect everybody to download BeamReader (or BeamWriter). Quite a few will prefer the web service, even though it has some minor limitations over the apps. 
  • Select short, easy to remember and easy to tap in event codes. Make these available via posters and screens in the conference rooms, and mention these in the opening address.
  • Don’t overdo it! This is an add-on channel for increased interaction, the main focus should still be on the live presentations. Avoid confusion by beaming too many services in parallell. Stop beaming of services as soon as they become outdated.  
  • Use the alert service to broadcast reminders and admin notifications during the day – it works great.
  • Make sure your conference host is well prepared to catch the signals from the digital add-on channel and integrate these into the event where relevant.
Do you want help setting up your first event with BeamWriter?

We are as keen as you are to make your interactive event a success!
Leave your name and contact info below, and we will get in touch to discuss how we can help!

Example mail to speaker: Poll before and after presentation

From: Lena Kane
Sent: May 19, 2017 10:01
To: Mrs Speaker <mrs-spkr@mail.com>
Subject: Preparation for September Conference

Dear Mrs Speaker,
We are very happy to have you on our list of speakers for the conference in September!
It was a pleasure meeting you to discuss the contents and details of your presentation and the overall programme.
As the event organizer, I would like this conference to stand out, be discussed, remembered and referred to. I believe interaction between speakers and participants will contribute to this. As briefly demonstrated during our meeting, we shall therefore be using “BeamWriter” as a tool for enhanced interaction.

Based on our discussion I have prepared a BeamWriter poll service which I recommend we beam 15 minutes prior to and a few minutes into your presentation. Then, at the end of your presentation, we repeat a similar poll to see if the participants have changed their view on the subject matter, based on what you have presented.

You can view and test this service now by going to www.beamwriter.com and use the event code “test1”. Please tell me if you agree or if you would like to make some changes.

The live results will be shown on the participants personal devices, as well as on the large screen, following you last slide.

Please note: The setup will be arranged by us. The only additional effort we ask from you is that you mention this interaction opportunity at the start and end of your presentation, that is all. You may of course choose to comment the results at the end, if you like. Our experience shows that this approach will trigger discussion and make participants remember your presentation for a long time.

Additionally, we will encourage participants throughout the whole conference to use BeamWriter to pose questions and give comments to any presentation. We will share relevant questions and comments with you at the end of the day and inform you on how you may respond to these, at your discretion.

Please feel free to contact me any time, and I look forward to seeing you in September!

Best regards
Lena

Lena Kane
Conference manager
Tel +44 0123 456 7890

Example mail to speaker: Add info to participants & build list of contacts

From: Lena Kane
Sent: May 19, 2017 11:01
To: Mr Beam <john.beam@gmail.com>
Subject: Preparation for September Conference

Dear Mr Beam,
We are very happy to have you on our list of speakers for the conference in September!
It was a pleasure meeting you to discuss the contents and details of your presentation and the overall programme. As the event organizer, I would like this conference to stand out, be discussed, remembered and referred to. I believe interaction between speakers and participants will contribute to this. As briefly demonstrated during our meeting, we will be using “BeamWriter” as a tool for enhanced interaction.
Based on our discussion I have prepared a BeamWriter “Get email service”. This will give participants access to additional background data from you, in exchange for their email address. I recommend we beam this during the length of your presentation and for an additional 30 minutes. Upon this, anyone in the audience, who have requested it, will have received your in-depth document. You will have a list of email addresses which you may use for later follow up.
You can test this service now by going to www.beamwriter.com and use the event code “test2”. Please tell me if you would like to make some changes to the email introduction text, and verify that the document link is correct.

Please note: The setup will be arranged by us. The only effort we ask from you is that you mention this interaction opportunity at the start and end of your presentation, that is all. Our experience is that individuals in the audience will appreciate and remember you sharing this “exclusive additional information” with them. At your discretion you may choose to follow up with later emails to those who have identified themselves and taken a special interest in your work.

Additionally, we will encourage participants throughout the whole conference to use BeamWriter to pose questions, give comments and give feedback to any presentation. We will share relevant questions and comments with you at the end of the day and inform you on how you may respond to these, at your discretion.

Please feel free to contact me any time, and I look forward to seeing you in September!

Best regards
Lena

Lena Kane
Conference manager
Tel +44 0123 456 7890

Example mail to speaker: Beam relevant information about yourself during presentation

From: Lena Kane
Sent: May 19, 2017 12:01
To: Ms Cardi <b.a.cardi@gmail.com>
Subject: Preparation for September Conference

Dear Ms Cardi,
We are very happy to have you on our list of speakers for the conference in September!
It was a pleasure meeting you to discuss the contents and details of your presentation and the overall programme. As the event organizer, I would like this conference to stand out, be discussed, remembered and referred to. I believe interaction between speakers and participants will contribute to this. As briefly demonstrated during our meeting, we will be using “BeamWriter” as a tool for enhanced interaction.

Time will not permit to describe your extensive professional background as part of the presentation. Still, I believe it will be very interesting for the audience to get some more insight into your past research experience. Based on our discussion I have prepared a BeamWriter service with a link to your impressive, complete resume. I suggest we beam this during your presentation, plus 30 minutes before and after this. This will give participants timely and accurate access to relevant information about you.

You can test this service now by going to www.beamwriter.com and use the event code “test3”. Please tell me if you would like to make some changes to the resume (which is a copy of the one you sent me). 

Please note: The setup will be arranged by us. We encourage you to mention, at the start of your presentation, that your full CV is available via BeamWriter, that is all.

Additionally, we will encourage participants throughout the whole conference to use BeamWriter to pose questions, give comments and give feedback to any presentation. We will share relevant questions and comments with you at the end of the day and inform you on how you may respond to these, at your discretion.

Please feel free to contact me any time, and I look forward to seeing you in September!

Best regards
Lena

Lena Kane
Conference manager
Tel +44 0123 456 7897

Example mail to speaker: Engage the audience in Q&A

From: Lena Kane
Sent: May 19, 2017 16:01
To: Mr Tim Grey <t.grey@somemail.com>
Subject: Preparation for September Conference

Dear Mr Grey,
We are very happy to have you on our list of speakers for the conference in September!

It was a pleasure meeting you to discuss the contents and details of your presentation and the overall programme. As the event organizer, I would like this conference to stand out, be discussed, remembered and referred to. I believe interaction between speakers and participants will contribute to this. As briefly demonstrated during our meeting, we will be using “BeamWriter” as a tool for enhanced interaction.

We appreciate your offer to respond to questions and comments from the audience for the final part of your allotted time.
Past feedback indicates that this adds value to the overall conference experience.

 I have prepared a BeamWriter “Ask questions service” which we plan to beam from the start of your presentation. The audience can use this to ask any questions or give any comments, without interrupting your presentation. You can select in advance if you wish the questions to be visible only to yourself, or open to all. If open to all, you may also allow people to “like” questions asked by others. The list of questions will be available for your review. At your discretion you may choose to answer or comment anytime, preferably after your main presentation is finished.

 You can test this service now by going to www.beamwriter.com and use the event code “test4”.

 Please note: The setup will be arranged by us. Just remember, early on in your presentation,  to encourage the audience to interact with you using BeamWriter. The iPad in front of you will show any questions/comments sorted by timestamp (or if you prefer number of likes).

 Additionally, we will encourage participants throughout the whole conference to use BeamWriter to pose questions, give comments and feedback to any presentation.

Please contact me after you have tested the current setup as described above. We will then decide on the final details.

I look forward to seeing you in September!
Best regards
Lena

Lena Kane
Conference manager
Tel +44 0123 456 7897

Example mail to all participants two days prior to event

From: Lena Kane
Sent: September 12, 2017 17:01
To: All registered event participants
Subject: Important information and preparations for “The September Conference”

Dear all,
On behalf of the entire crew, I am very happy to have you on our list of registered guests for Thursday’s event!

In this email you will find important information and a kind request to help us get things running smoothly.

We will be using a “digital add-on channel” for this conference to enhance the interaction between yourself, the speakers and the organizers. You can participate throughout the event by using your mobile phone, a tablet or PC. For full functionality you should download the app to your device. Alternatively you can use any standard web browser in combination with event codes. Please see links at the bottom of this message.

The BeamWriter app will be used for distribution of relevant and important information during the event. As a participant you use the BeamReader app or web service to view this information, to ask questions, discuss, participate in polls, get exclusive background documentation from speakers, and more.

If you launch the app or enter the web service right now, you will find 5 live “beams”, including the updated conference agenda and list of participants. (Use event code prepare.)
I kindly ask you to respond to the beam “Which breakout session do you intend to follow?”. If you do this before Wednesday noon, it will be of great help for finalizing our setup.

 

I look forward to seeing you on Thursday morning!
Best regards
Lena

Lena Kane
Conference manager
Tel +44 0123 456 7890

Links: (Use event code: prepare)
Download BeamReader from Appstore (iOS devices only)
Download BeamReader from Google Play (Android devices)
Launch BeamReader web service (standard web browser).

 

Please note: The GDPR compliance statement, received from us at registration for this event, includes the use of BeamWriter and BeamReader. You may use the app with or without registering an account. For some services you will be asked to enter your email. We will not share any data linked to your person with any third party.   

 

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