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Audience Response Systems in a Nutshell

An Overview of Audience Response Systems for Better Meetings.  

Though Audience Response Systems (ARS) and their range of uses differ, these systems essentially use wireless devices to transmit instant audience responses to questions, polls, surveys, quizzes, games and more. With this instant line of communication, presenters can interact with their entire audience and display results in near real-time using software such as PowerPoint.

Audience response tools range greatly in features. There are affordable basic handhelds or clickers as some call them. There are also robust handhelds that allow for texting, built-in microphone, assisted listening or translation. Another option in ARS, are web-based applications like the MB4 Digital Meeting Solution (DMS). These applications are easy to adopt from any wifi enabled device. In this day and age, audience engagement is also frequently deployed through native applications downloaded from an app store. The native nature of these tools allows for more bells and whistles as applications on a mobile device or enabled tablet can use in-built features like vibration, camera, geolocation and keyboards. Even the all-important emojis can come into play.

The top eight major benefits of Audience Response Systems are:

  • Increased meeting engagement

  • In the moment opinion capture

  • Demographics details about the audience

  • Before and after knowledge aggregation

  • Two-way communication between presenters and the event participants

  • Accommodation for different learning styles

  • Q&A (no roving mics, identified or anonymous for more candid responses)

  • Instant survey data and digital reports

This technology can add value to any meeting small or large. But, the types of events we most often see ARS in use at are:

  • National Sales Meetings

  • Pharmaceutical Sales Training

  • Board Meetings

  • Annual Employee Meetings

  • Stockholder Meetings

For the best implementation of this technology, top things to consider are:

  • Does the chosen ARS system require a dedicated internet connection or advanced wireless arrangements within the venue (How many attendees need to be covered by the internet or wireless)?

  • How savvy is the audience? Would they download a native app, or is a link okay, or perhaps it would be better to give them devices such as keypads, or pre-programmed iPads?

  • How dynamic are the presenters? will they need training? Will there need to be a designated ARS tech on-site?

  • How many rooms will ARS be used in, are there simultaneous sessions? Will the system need to move?

  • What percentage is enough to warrant closing a polling question or will questions be closed after the standard 15 seconds?

  • Top ARS best practices as follows:

    • Plan questions in advance

    • Make sure the questions serve a purpose (lead to meeting outcomes or mission-related conversations

    • Build time into the program to engage with ARS results (It is also beneficial to engage with results post-event)

    • Consider how to display questions or text in comments and responses to the audience

This technology has been around for a long time, but we predict it will be utilized more as audiences, both established and young demand to be a more active part of the conversation. Our ARS system, the MB4 DMS, is an affordable way to dip a toe or two into the water. Contact us today, to talk through ARS concepts or other engagement ideas.





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