Reach a Wider Audience…Before and After an Event

I recently attended InfoComm Live, a new event by InfoComm for its rental and staging members. The event was held in Washington D.C. and featured two days of great content, through presentations and audience participation.

It got me thinking about other events that I attend and/or put together. Many times, I’m at these events and wish that someone in my office could either participate or tune into the content. Of course, there are also events that I want to go to but can’t attend due to a conflict.

In either case, that’s where content capture comes into play. In this day and age, content capture should be done at every live event and the content should be shared. It can be offered an added value to the cost of the event, or sold as a separate item. After all, if an event is worth doing, it’s worth capturing!

On my mobile device I regularly watch TED talks and iTunes U. Both of these offer great content. And although both are great sharing platforms, the problem I have with watching prerecorded event content is in the audience participation. Many times, you can’t hear audience members’ questions or comments. I am left to watch the presenter nod their head and say, “Yes, yes, I see,” without ever hearing the audience member. Most presenters don’t repeat the question because they are not aware the event is being recorded or they don’t want to disrupt their train of thought. Therefore I and others miss out on this important interaction. Often, the audience makes the presentation with their questions and comments.

With that in mind, how can you more effectively present and capture content? Events can be extremely costly to put on. Not only that, but taking many people out of their businesses to attend means the event needs to be worth their time and effort.

Here are a few suggestions:

Encourage attendees to participate and capture their contributions. Put wireless microphone and speaker units on each table for every two or three people and encourage participants to use them. It’s impractical to think that you can capture the interaction with someone running around with a wireless handheld. Most people won’t hold their comment for the mic to get to them and most won’t walk up to a stand to make a comment. This makes the event interactive, both to the attendees and people watching afterwards. It’s vital to capture these interactions.

Hire interpreters. I had visitors from Japan at an event. They spoke English very well, but I wanted them to get what they came for and participate comfortably. And if you use interpreters, capture the interpretation as well. Your international guests can take the content back to their company and share with others who didn’t make the long trip.

Go professional for production and content capturing. Even though we’re an audio company, I learned a few years ago that we shouldn’t do our own production. Leave some things to the professionals — this frees up your staff and resources for focusing on presentations and audience involvement.

Share your content on a variety of channels. This is crucial. If you’ve gone to the trouble of creating a great event and captured the production, get it out to everyone who could benefit from it. You’ll not only increase people’s knowledge, you’ll boost your brand reputation, too.

How might you share the content you generate at live events? First, make it available to attendees for use in their businesses. A follow-up e-mail after the event, with a link to all the content, is a nice way to say thanks and offer value. Second, use social media to get the word out. Post the content on your various feeds and add keywords so people can discover the content. The potential to go viral is always there.

Finally, use the content internally. It can be a great to provide employee training to those who weren’t at the event. Plus, it’s a way of giving presenters that chance to critque themselves and hone their presentations.

When our priorities are the presentation content and the interaction among attendees — rather than on the layout of a PowerPoint — amazing things can happen. What are your thoughts? Are there other things to add to my list? What would you suggest for content sharing?

About Cory Schaeffer

Cory Schaeffer co-founded Listen Technologies in 1998. She is Vice President of Sales Worldwide and also served on the Board of Directors for InfoComm International. Audio is her company’s focus and she believes that good audio enhances the experience for the listener whether in a meeting, house of worship, theater or venue tour.

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