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Crystal Washington: How to Keep Your Attendees Off Their Phones and Engaged

by Crystal Washington
Man on phone at conference

This is a guest blog post authored by social media marketing strategist and tech trends expert Crystal Washington.

Once upon a time, senior leaders and event professionals could put together a meeting and expect attendees to simply sit and listen. Those days are gone!

Mobile Is Changing Us
Over the past twenty years, humans had become increasingly connected to their mobile devices. By definition, we have been mating with our phones. No, not that definition. The other one—we’re being fitted with and are merging with them. In fact, Kaspersky Lab came up with the term “Digital Amnesia” to describe the phenomena of humans retaining less information—like phone numbers—because we trust our devices to store it for us.

We’re also developing compulsory behaviors with our phones. The International Data Corporation found that four out of five of those polled said that they check their mobile devices within fifteen minutes of waking. Of those people, 80% said that checking their mobile phones is their very first action of the day. In other words, we’re greeting our devices before our mates. People are getting hit by cars and are nearly running into wild bears because they’re focusing on their devices versus where they are walking.

We’re not simply attached to glass and metal; we’re connected to our newest appendages. How do we keep our attendees’ attention in the future, as they become increasingly connected?

Leverage Mobile Technology To Keep Attendees Engaged

Create a Hashtag
Create a hashtag for your conference and include it on all printed and marketing materials. Encourage attendees to tweet quotable phrases and upload engaging photos to Instagram. Offer prizes in the form of gifts, upgrades, or VIP experiences for the juiciest content uploads!

Use Augmented Reality
Every piece of paper or billboard is an opportunity to provide an engaging experience. Use tools like Layar and Aurasma to make these items come to life with videos, secret codes, and fun additional facts.

Leverage Teamwork Scavenger Hunt Tools
Encourage attendees to bond as teams while gathering information, visiting vendor booths and completing a host of other objectives with tools like GooseChase or Scavify.

We have become the cyborgs 1980s movies warned of and there is no going back. Use your audience members’ connection to their devices to your benefit to increase learning and engagement!

Crystal Washington, CSP works with organizations all over the globe that want to leverage technology to increase profits and productivity. Crystal offers technology programs for sales and marketing as well as efficiency.

For more tips on leveraging mobile technology to take your event to the next level, read this LAI Live blog post: "How to Make Your Live Event More Tech-Savvy."

To learn more about Crystal or to check her availability and fees for an upcoming event, call 1-800-SPEAKER or live chat with a member of our team right now.

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