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Clickers or mobile? Or should you use both?

Clickers or Mobile? Should we use both? 

Statistic show for 2017, the number of smartphone users in South Africa is estimated to reach 18.48 million and is expected to reach over 25 million by 2022. According to the Pew Research Center, 94% of adults in the United States ages 18 to 29 own a smartphone.

It is not surprising, then, that the debate over allowing students to use phones and other types of electronic devices in the classroom is as passionate as ever.

Interestingly though just last year, a New York Times op-ed encouraging instructors to completely ban laptops and other electronic devices during lessons provoked numerous spirited responses ranging from enthusiastic agreement to vehement opposition. A study recently published in Educational Psychology asserting that in-class cell phone use results in lower test scores has prompted similar reactions.

Over the years Turning Technologies has partnered with instructors whose opinions on this topic span the entire spectrum. Those experiences taught us an important lesson: A response solution that offers both clickers and mobile responding options serves the needs of everyone in ways that mobile-only systems cannot.

Lesson 1 Learnt – Build a System to Accommodate Both

Turning Technologies has considered what they’ve learnt partnering with instructors whose opinions support both arguments when creating the new TurningPoint 8. The requirement was a response solution that offers both clickers and mobile options while serving the needs of everyone in ways that mobile-only systems cannot.

Lesson 2: Suprise, the Demand for Clickers Remains!

So far in 2017, Turning Technologies analysis of its TurningPoint 8 users show some interesting results.

  • 74% of TurningPoint sessions used only clickers
  • 15% used only mobile
  • 11% were hybrid (both mobile and clickers).

This means that instructors used clickers in 85% of their sessions.

Despite the continuing growth in mobile usage, the data shows that most instructors are still more comfortable with clickers or prefer to offer students the option of using clickers.  Accordingly, usage of response technology will be higher at institutions that support both clicker and mobile environments.

ResponseCard RF LCD Keypad

An Advocate for Clickers 

Meshagae Hunte-Brown, a teaching professor at Drexel University, uses TurningPoint to facilitate not only engagement, but also frequent testing in her large biology classes. This allows her to test students every week, rather than only a few times every semester.

Hunte-Brown does not let students respond with web-enabled devices, and instead requires them to purchase one of our full-featured clickers.

“There are mobile options, which I no longer use because I can’t have a student on a cell phone during a test,” she said. “Now I have the security of this device that allows for automated grading, but also really cuts down on opportunities to cheat.”


An Advocate for Mobile

On the other end of the spectrum, Jim Mitroka, an associate professor of pharmaceutical sciences at Palm Beach Atlantic University, elected to use a fully mobile solution in his classes. This choice was primarily a matter of convenience, since students at the university’s Gregory School of Pharmacy already have tablets available to them.

Mitroka was less concerned with high-stakes testing, and more focused on engaging students in his classes with active learning approaches like the flipped classroom model.

As he puts it, “Getting students engaged is the problem that is solved by using TurningPoint student polling.”

An Advocate for Both

Finally, some instructors choose to empower the students themselves to decide which response option is best for them. Senior Lecturer in Music and Director of Learning and Teaching in the School of Arts at the University of Surrey Christopher Wiley, for example, always offers students the choice of using either the TurningPoint app or a clicker simply because “with the higher student fees, students cannot always be expected to own a smartphone.”

How do I choose?

You should consider a number of factors when deciding whether to use mobile devices, clickers or both.

  • IT infrastructure: First, consider the IT infrastructure where you will be running your polling sessions. Can the Wi-Fi network reliably handle simultaneous responses from hundreds of students? If not, clickers may be the way to go.
  • Affordability: Cost is another significant factor to consider. As an initial step, standardizing on one response system acceptable to all instructors is the best way to save students money so students do not have to purchase multiple subscriptions or clickers.
  • Access to web-enabled devices: Beyond that, do all of your students have smartphones or laptops? If not and you are interested in a mobile-only solution, do you have a plan to supply web-enabled devices to those students?
  • Faculty opinions: Finally, faculty opinions should be weighed carefully. If everyone agrees on using mobile devices or clickers, the choice is easy. If there are opposing views, then a hybrid option is an effective way to decrease conflict and increase usage, whether for simple engagement or high-stakes testing.

At the end of the day, every organization’s situation is unique, and its administrators and faculty members have to decide which response option is best for them. Clients are not shy about telling us what they want, and we have heard you loud and clear: A response system should not limit your choices, but instead provide the flexibility to support you and your organization’s needs, both today and into the future

Chat to us today we are already working with 14 universities in South Africa, we want to see you succeed.

The original article was published by Turning Technologies and is available to read here.

Clickers or mobile? Or should you use both?2018-09-13T15:52:04+02:00

The Secret Weapons of an Event Organiser

Do you have the Event Organiser Secret Weapon?

Whether you are an experienced event organiser or just starting out as an event professional I don’t need to tell you how many moving parts there are when it comes to successfully orchestrating large-scale conference or events.

Simply put the best events I have been involved with share the following core ingredients:

  • An dynamic and passionate team of orgainsers
  • Knowledgeable and experienced service providers
  • A fantastic venue
  • An investment in the right technologies

Most event organisers have all been there, doing everything on your own, juggling too many balls, eventually dropping one or all of them resulting in failure, unhappy customers and disappointed audiences.

Is technology enabling or disabling you? Could it become your secret weapon?

Just over a decade ago I identified that we could help. We could provide technology that could become the event organisers side-kick, their secret weapon. Our company uses technology to relieve some of the greatest challenges events face and allow organisers to focus on what matters most, creating those amazing events.

Having serviced thousands of events across 12 countries with hundreds of customers and walking alongside many event professionals we have learnt a lot about what works and what doesn’t at events.

Some food for thought around typical challenges faced by every event organiser.

Delight your Audience with Real Engagement

So, the event starts, uh oh, your speaker is dull, now what? Your audience begins fidgeting and looking at their phones, they are bored, can you do something? In the words of Obama, Yes you can! Avoid this situation by using the right technology.
Make dull speakers seem brighter and great speakers rock stars using technology. Connect them with their audience using audience response technology or an event app. Change the one directional monologue into an engaging multi-directional conversation, it’ll make a HUGE difference, I promise!

Most people fear public speaking, roving mics are only really used by the small minority who are comfortable to do so. Consequently, you lose many potentially valuable insights and conversations. There are better other ways to create engagement.

Live Polls to the Rescue

The standard modus operandi in a presentation is for a speaker to ask questions and then three or four roving mics dart around. What if you could level the playing field and make participation fun?

How about inviting everyone anonymously to participate and answer questions where their responses are instantly displayed? Using an event app or wireless handheld devices your whole audience can respond in real-time, compare their answers, reflect on the experience and perhaps even start debates.

Real-time Comments and Questions for the Win

What about those who don’t have the confidence to ask the speaker questions directly? Using the ‘ask a question’ function in an event app can help. Using it the whole audience can pose questions and comments anonymously. The really cool feature of this is the option to ‘up vote’ your favourite comment or questions. This creates a really dynamic experience for everyone! By voting the audience organically prioritises what they feel is most important and the speaker can then address the actual most burning issues rather than assuming what’s important or unknown to them.

The Million Dollar Questions

How was your response rate to the last event survey you created? You’re lucky if you got 30% of the audience to actually complete are return the survey forms. Beyond that, someone still has to collect them all and begin the time consuming and costly exercise of data capturing, collating and building a report. Some don’t even bother as the required effort outweighs the value. With an event app, you can have active surveys running all the time, you’ll find some participants will complete them whilst exploring the event app on their own. You can also use automated direct notifications or emails with direct links to the surveys, this will increase your completion rate because it’s effortless and easy to do. Even better you can incentivise the completion of the feedback with surprise giveaways or run a competition for those who complete the surveys.

Give the Event Life before its Begins and long after it Ends

Have you ever calculated the cost of your event per hour? It’s a sure way to raise your blood pressure and anxiety! When you use an event app you automatically extend the longevity of your event. Firstly, you begin communicating way before it starts. Develop your pre-event strategy, communicate and publish what’s most important and be sure to track open rated and page views. Once you send out the first communication everyone installs your event app, effectively placing your brand on every participants personal device. How’s that for exposure!

Post event the event app remains on everyone’s device as a point of reference and a great resource. It becomes a digital directory of all who attended, photos of newly made acquaintances and business prospects. It contains the presentation content, records of conversations, photos and shared memories of the experience.

Your Event Ninja, One Stop Solution and Secret Weapon!

The Event App isn’t purely to engage with an audience and collate data, it’s far more useful for you as an event organizer. Think of it as your program on steroids with a truly interactive functionality, a mobile information kiosk customised for each person that fits in their pocket that makes everything easier, it is your ninja sidekick, your secret weapon!

Let’s look at some key benefits:

1. Event Registration and RSVPs are all efficiently managed digitally with integration into the event app, from the moment you first connect with your audience you can already start measuring their interaction with your meeting and driving behaviours.

2. Digital Agenda, Speaker Bios, Maps and all pertinent Event Information is conveniently accessible on everyone’s personal device. No more delegates desperately looking for the event organiser to ask them questions, they just consult the info kiosk in their pocket!

3. It’s good for the environment. No need for those expensive printed programs! For just about the same print budget you can have an Event App! The horror of a last-minute changes are eliminated, no more printing inserts, just update the Event App and send out a notification!

4. Gamification. Use a strategy that taps into some of the core drivers of our human behaviour that revolve around status, achievement, and rewards. Create games that help you achieve event objectives. Use the event app to draw attention to certain sets of information or content. Create games and competitions based on the need of the particular client such as scavenger hunts, quizzes and networking activities which promote communication amongst delegates. Download our Ultimate Guide to Gamification here to learn more.

5. Communication. Delegates can use the app to connect with other delegates, join chat rooms to discuss topical issues and participate in live polls, ask speakers questions, answer surveys and read material ahead of time at their leisure. Event alerts notify guests of any important information when they need to know it.

6. Your Digital Business Card. It becomes a digital business card for them and everybody else who’s there, just like a phone book but now with photos! After the event, you can continue conversations, with the ability to direct message participants and speakers.


If you are in the business of planning events, there is no better assistant than a reliable piece of technology to keep track of all these moving parts. It becomes your one-stop-list where every single piece of the puzzle is collated and allows you to put together the memorable and flawless events your clients crave!

Chat to us today to be your technology partner to great events.

This article was first posted here and titled ‘ The Secret Weapons of an Event Organiser’

The Secret Weapons of an Event Organiser2018-09-11T17:42:26+02:00

7 Tips To Make Sure Your Event Doesn’t Suck

7 Tips to Make Sure your Event Doesn’t Suck

No event organiser wants the only memory of their event to be the food, unless it’s a food event that is. What we all want is a memorable event that delegates continue to talk about long after its finished and if the event is repeated that they all come back for more.

Based on our experience in supplying over 1,000 events with our services, we’ve summarised seven key tips on creating memorable and valuable events that will keep your delegates coming back:

1. Answer the 4 ‘W’s – Why, What, Who, Where and When?

Many events fail because they are created based on a ‘wonderful idea’ without much thought as to a purpose. Without a clearly defined purpose, objective or a clear business reason you will be doomed for failure.

Consider the type of event that will best achieve your objective and engage with your audience.

Who is your audience and what will appeal most to them? Where do they live and how will they access your event?

Where and when?
Location, location, location! Research shows most declined RSVPs are due to an inconvenient date, time and location. Be sure to select a location that is easy to access and will meet the physical and technological requirements for your event, have a ‘plan B’ in the event of any unforeseen circumstances.

2. Planning – say what?

Pay sufficient attention to planning! Plan ahead and create a timeline from start to finish. Your plan should include budgets, logistics, content and promotion. Identify and manage your risks and where possible account for any unexpected situations that may arise in your budget.

Use the cloud! There are numerous online collaboration tools, many free, where you can create and share all the resources linked to your event. This way you can collaborate with your team, delegate tasks effectively and ensure everyone is always up to date.

3. Metrics, Metrics, Metrics, did I say Metrics?

The devil is in the details! If you want to evaluate, you must first measure. The fundamental metrics that should be tracked are: budget, performance, return on investment, and client satisfaction. Don’t be afraid to ask for feedback.

4. Engagement, no seriously they need it!

‘Tell me and I forget.  Teach me and I remember.  Involve me and I learn.’

– Benjamin Franklin

If your event has no plan for engagement don’t bother having it. Engagement is no longer a nice to have but rather an imperative and your delegates will expect it. Allow time for meaningful networking. Participate Technologies are experts in audience engagement, Contact us today to explore the best ways for you to engage with your audience.

5. Content is not king. QUALITY CONTENT is!

In a shallow world of distraction and vast amounts of data, your key differentiator should be the value you offer. Be sure to research your content well, find the best professionals to share their knowledge and secure them well in advance.

6. Calm Down! Chill out…

It may sound silly, but it is essential. Try to be one step ahead; something will not go according to plan and you need to be ready for that. A fit of panic or rage is not going to help the situation and only add more stress. If you are able to stay calm you can respond and think clearly, rather than react irrationally. You thereby minimise the impact of the crisis and your delegates and stakeholders will be none the wiser to the mishap.

7. COMMUNICATE! Yep it’s that simple.

Make sure delegates can get the information they need – when they need it. If potential delegates have a question, you want to make it easy for them to get the answers they need quickly or even immediately, before they forget their question or move onto the next one.

An Event App is a fantastic way to ensure everyone has the information they require, which will make the event organisers life a lot easier! The Participate Event App can guide delegates to the venue, provide any necessary details, as well as host the agenda and information about speakers. They can manage their catering preferences, earmark speakers and use the app to facilitate great networking opportunities with other delegates.

In Summary

Ensuring that your delegates keep talking about your event brings the audience and speaker closer together and guarantees a better experience for all concerned.  Keeping delegates in touch with the content on the day and engaging with them in real time is truly beneficial to your business and to them personally.

Participate Technologies has found a way accomplish this, using innovative technology.

Post event, all material used or presented can be digitally delivered to delegates, creating an opportunity for delegates to engage with each other and speakers to encourage cooperation and develop new business opportunities.

Chat to us today to be your technology partner to great events.

7 Tips To Make Sure Your Event Doesn’t Suck2018-09-11T13:21:20+02:00

Our top 5 meeting trends for 2017

Our 5 top meeting trends for


Only 20 days into the new year and we’ve all hit the ground running. Strategies, budgets, venues, design, catering, meeting content – it’s all systems go.

Amid the craziness, we’ve picked our top 5 2017 meeting trends for you. These could be real game changers in your planning.

  1. Content is no longer king. It’s all about context.

Naturally content is critical but without providing your attendees the understanding of what your content means to them in their environment it is likely to be tossed aside.

Michael Dominguez, Chief Sales Officer, MGM Resorts International says “Content is not king today—it’s all about context. I don’t need the meeting to learn what I need to find out. I need the meeting today to tell me what it means to me and how I’m going to implement it. Attendees need more white space so people can have conversations about what they’re learning.”

  1. Creating certainty in uncertain times.

Holly Duckworth, CEO of Leadership Solutions International says “Meetings must create certainty in these uncertain times.” She advises a shift away from meetings being a deluge of information to a two-way idea exchange and allowing time to process that information exchange.

This two-way exchange of information can be facilitated in various ways, Audience Response Systems remain one of the most engaging and reliable options. With constant innovation in this technology providing different response options and more comprehensive reporting it is at the forefront of meeting technologies.

  1. Understanding the Attendee Journey

Only when we truly understand how our attendees journey through and experience our events, are we able to create meaningful meetings with a lasting impact.

“Leveraging technology to improve attendee engagement and drive strategy through data capture will be key for 2017,” says Cate Banfield, director of event solution design, BCD Meetings & Events

Mobile Event Aps continue to gain traction in SA and are proving to be an invaluable tool to attendees, organisers and sponsors who use them.

  1. Experiential meetings

Attendees need to be captivated by our events. They’ve all been there, done that and got the T-shirt. They’re looking for something new, something fresh. There’s a real need to look beyond the lecture theatre style meeting room to more innovative meeting spaces which allow people the freedom to decide how they engage with your content.

Providing hands on experiential sessions gives attendees the knowledge, context and experience to take your content into their environments and use it to make a difference. We would never question the effectiveness of learning to drive in a car with a qualified driving instructor vs. a theoretical presentation about driving and yet this is our go to option for most meetings. We need to immerse people in our content and engage with them meaningfully.

  1. Social media trends that you can’t ignore

The communications role that social media plays in events continues to grow. The introduction of live streaming opens new ways to be creative with our use of social media. Facebook Live, Instagram Stories and even Snapchat are increasing the reach of our events more than ever before.


Here’s to a year of engaging and innovative meetings. We look forward to sharing the journey with you.

Our top 5 meeting trends for 20172019-06-20T14:59:02+02:00

Do you scare your clients with event technology

How to Scare Away Clients with Event Technology

We regularly read the Event Manager Blog along with over 11000 others event industry folk from around the world. Reading this post we figured we had to repost it as it really is solid advice our clients could benefit from.

The post How to Scare Away Clients with Event Technology by Editorial Team appeared first on

Being on the cutting edge of technology gives you a leg up on the competition, unless it’s scaring your event clients.

Technology should be a tool, not a tyrant.

According to market research company Frost & Sullivan, event technology can increase event attendance by 20%, decrease costs by 20-30%, and increase productivity by 27%. Those numbers can make a big difference in your budget and be well worth the technology investment. However, these numbers only pan out if your clients, and attendees, embrace the new #eventtech. If not, your new technology can cost you more than just it’s going price.

Know Your Audience

Before embracing, or introducing, any new technology to your clients – know your audience. This includes your client and the attendees of their event. Ask yourself:

  • What drives them?
  • What are they looking to accomplish through their event and by attending the event?
  • How old are they? What do they do for a living?
  • Where do they fall on thetechnology adoption scale?
  • Who will train them to use it?
  • What benefit does the adoption of this technology bring them?
  • Do you need to share the technology with them or is it something just for you?

The last question is very important because often there is technology you use as an event planner to increase your efficiency. If you use technology that you love, is it necessary that your client use it too? What are the benefits of doing so? Does it outweigh the hesitancy they might have in embracing it?

After you’ve done your research and decided to push forward in sharing it with your client here are a few things to be aware of to keep them from running.

Things about Tech that Scare Most Clients

Change isn’t easy for anyone but if you have clients that are tech phobic, being sensitive to these most common concerns can help you convince them the technology is exactly what they need to be more productive and grow their event.

Too Many Moving Parts

Seamlessly integrated tech is one thing. Tech that requires a lot of jury-rigging and manipulation, gives everyone pause. If you make sure your new tech integrates nicely with some of the other things they currently use, they’ll be more apt to get on board.

It’s Too New for You

Convincing someone to use technology is easier to do if you are a power user. If you have a proven track record of successful uses and implementations, and data to back up your claims about the benefits of the eventtech, clients will trust you. If, on the other hand, you “heard” it was “cool,” and have never used it, most clients won’t want to be your test subjects.

It Didn’t Work When You Unveiled It

If you unveil technology in the hopes a client will embrace it and it goes wonky, you better have a backup plan or a joke, like Bill Gates had when the “blue screen of death” appeared during an unveiling of Windows 98.

They Don’t See the Connection Between Your Technology and Their Needs

You never want to adopt technology for technology’s sake. There aren’t any event planner gold stars for who has the earliest adoption. Sure, it can set you apart from your competition but only if they trust in it. To trust in it, they must first trust in you and then understand the business reason behind adopting it. The business reason should never be your portfolio, at least not as it’s understood by the client.

You Seem Hesitant

You must be confident in your presentation of the technology. You’ll present why you like it; why it works well for them, their needs, and their event; and what problem it solves for them (not you). If at any time when you are talking about these points, you seem hesitant, or you answer one of their questions with, “Well, let’s just see if this works. It’s bound to be better than what we have.”, you’ll scare your client. Confidence is beguiling. Hesitancy is halting.

It’s Very Expensive

Expense in itself is not a deal breaker, but expense without return, or expense and a murky return is unacceptable to most businesses, even those with deep pockets. Whenever possible, share projections of how they will see a return on investment.

You Don’t Know Your Client

It’s important to know who you are pitching to because this often brings up its own set of cautions. For instance, in a 2009 report conducted by the AARP and Microsoft, they found Boomers expect technology to:

  • Be safe and easy to use
  • Work the way they do (they don’t want to recreate established processes for the way the technology works)
  • Give them ways to connect
  • Not take the place of other forms of engagement. (This is important to know if you think putting in technology between you and the client is a good way to cut down on those long status calls, you may come to realize they want both.)
  • Be a tool but not a tyrant. Boomers have no desire to become dependent on the technology. Keep that out of your sales pitch.
  • Do your research so you know how to present your tech with a personalized approach.

It Does Too Many Things They Don’t Need

When you are presenting the possible tech, don’t show them everything. Show them only what they need and what will help solve their challenges. After all, if you don’t like coffee, you won’t care that the new technology can make you the perfect cup in under a minute.

They Already Feel Overwhelmed

If you’re asking them to learn yet another platform, you’ll automatically have people running, especially those whose current workload seems unsurmountable. Make sure they know what you’re asking and you’re clear with them about the amount of time it will take on their part. Being honest upfront will help allay fears and avoid feelings of being misled.

In Conclusion

Change and the unknown are two of the scariest concepts for adults and embracing new technology calls on them to face both. While there are a lot of self-help gurus talking about facing fears these days, it’s difficult to persuade a client that this concept also covers technology adoption. But with a personalized approach and tying the technology into their goals for their event, you’ll be able to help them see why the new tech is a boon, not a bust.

Do you scare your clients with event technology2019-06-20T14:38:24+02:00

3 ways to gain better insight from your audience

So you decide to use an audience response system at your event, what do you do next?

As always, firstly we recommend defining your objectives for using audience response; this will provide you with a measurable result.

When it comes to audience interaction, have you thought about tracking responses to individual audience members? There are many pros and cons to deciding between anonymous responses vs. tracked responses. Consider the below 3 options:


  1. Tracking Responses

Tracking is sometimes necessary for testing or quiz style events to identify winners or assess content knowledge of employees in a product knowledge test.

The benefit – you get an individual report on each participant’s responses.

The negative – if you are doing a culture survey or asking questions that you want honest feedback on, participants may be reluctant to respond in fear of losing their job, being ridiculed by their manager or being singled out within the audience.


  1. Anonymous Responses

This option is great when you really want the truth.

Great for obtaining feedback from customers on new product development, especially before launching it! With honest feedback from culture surveys you can make far better decisions making changes within your organisation. This list could go on for pages.

Audience #hack – whilst remaining anonymous be strategic and ask questions that profile your audience with demographic options about region, employment, gender, division etc. This will provide an extra layer of meaningful data when interpreting your response data, offering insights into response trends from different sub-groups within your audience.


  1. A combination

This is a strategy that often provides the best audience insight. If you need to track responses for some of the questions but would still really like honest feedback for other questions start by asking the questions you would like to track the responses for then, ask the audience to swap devices with the person next to them! This will give the audience the assurance their responses to any of the following questions are anonymous.

For more audience insight and tips on how to get the most from your audience at a meeting contact us, we’d be glad to help!


3 ways to gain better insight from your audience2016-12-14T15:30:46+02:00

My TurningPoint Ribbon does not appear in PowerPoint?

Our support team at Participate regularly deal with audience response queries, mostly when the matrix throws a déjà vu cat in the mix. As with any type of technology, glitches and bugs crawl into a perfectly working system and create havoc.

In this blog post we demonstrate how to resolve the common support issue where TurningPoint does not load in PowerPoint.

FAQ: “My TurningPoint Ribbon does not appear in PowerPoint?”

PowerPoint with the TurningPoint Add-in loaded successfully.

Cause:  This is a common issue generally caused by Microsoft Office disabling all active add-ins, due to a crash or security settings. Sometimes these settings are also changed due to a Microsoft Office update. 

This can also happen you haven’t opened up TurningPoint before opening any PowerPoint presentations.

Below are the steps to re-enable the TurningPoint Add-in.

Solution 1:

1. Once PowerPoint has opened and there is no TurningPoint ribbon, Click on the File menu.

2. Navigate to the options button. Once selected, the PowerPoint Options dialogue will open. 

Accessing the Options within Powerpoint

3. On this window select Add-Ins.

4. If you see that TurningPoint is listed under Disabled Application Add-ins, you can simply reactivate TurningPoint. This can be done by selecting the drop-down next to Manage at the bottom, then select Disabled Items.

Re-enable TurningPoint within PowerPoint

5. A separate window will appear with TurningPoint listed, click the box next to TurningPoint and select Enable. Close PowerPoint options.

Enable TurningPoint within Powerpoint

6. If the ribbon doesn’t appear instantly, you may need to close and reopen PowerPoint.

If you’re still having issues with TurningPoint not loading within PowerPoint, visit our FAQ for more answers, or get in contact with our Support Team via the form below.

[contact-form-7 id=”7403″ title=”Support Form”]

My TurningPoint Ribbon does not appear in PowerPoint?2016-12-14T15:30:55+02:00

How much did your event cost? Are you measuring ROI?

Our company does over 50 events a year, this positions us uniquely as an observer to what works and what doesn’t. It still surprises me as to how many events exclude measuring the return on investment as a planned event objective or the objectives have not been clearly defined.

Events cost money, a lot of money.

In the current economic climate of today can we afford not to be measuring ROI from our events? I believe we should be. While popular experiential marketing is expensive and risky should businesses still allocate budget to items that are not measurable? I’d be interested to know your thoughts.

Very Bored Audience


Leverage technology to your advantage

There are so many tools at our disposal, new technologies like event applications and not so new technologies like response technology should be changing the way we all do events.

My opinion, if you are not setting measurable event objective right at the start of planning an event you are already wasting money.

Questions to help you plan better

Here are some basic questions I would recommend asking when planning your next event;

  • General:

Do we need to have the event?

Why are we doing this?

What specific outcomes do we want for attendees after the experience?

What specific outcomes does the meeting organiser after the experience?

  • Branding:

All events will affect your brand, fact.  So what are your branding objectives at the event?

Are you looking to build brand awareness or brand experience or brand activation?

Are you measuring audience perception?

How are you going to measure this?

Only when you are clear about you objectives and event purpose can you begin to look at the metrics to measure your effectiveness.

Participate Technologies offers a range of technologies that can assist in the measurement of your objectives. Isn’t it time you started considering the tools and technologies available and started using them and making measurement a priority?

Contact us for a free consultation regarding improving your audience experience and value of measurable feedback for your next event.



How much did your event cost? Are you measuring ROI?2016-12-14T15:30:57+02:00

Think twice before using mobile devices to poll your audience


The comparisons between audience response keypad polling and mobile device polling are not well documented.


Each technology has its pros and cons, that’s another discussion for the purposes of this article I’ll cover the differences. The platforms differ in speed, accuracy, reliability, security, and cost.

My advice, it’s important to know your objectives for the meeting before deciding on a platform, it may even be best to have both available simultaneously. There are many possible objectives regarding audience response you could consider, to keep the article short I’ll just list a few;

What percentage of the audiences responses do I need/want to collect. Is it important to have the majority of audience members participate?

What do you want to do with the response data collected? Do you want to publish it, use it for research, or just have fun?

Do you wish to collect demographic data from your audience?


Secondly, its equally important when selecting your platform to consider your audience, who is attending your event and what they would prefer. The number of responses you receive to the questions you ask will be directly influenced by how easy it is to submit a vote, the complexity of the question asked, and how interested the audience members are in the subject.


What we have learnt in our experience is that for most audiences it’s about the convenience; that is how easy it is to submit their vote.

Many Mobile Applications or sms voting systems will require several steps to submit a single response, while audience response keypads generally only require a single step.

If you would like to know more contact us, we would be happy to share our experience with you.


Another article you may enjoy reading from  Peter Babel from Meridia Interactive Solutions in Pylmouth, USA who had a client who tested out using mobile device polling and only received a 10% response rate, after that event they went back to using audience response keypad for polling.

Think twice before using mobile devices to poll your audience2016-12-14T15:30:57+02:00

Three Simple Tips to Create Better Meeting Experiences

I have been in the conference and events industry for almost 15 years and our company supplies services to 100+ meetings or conferences a year. I’ve had the fortune of sitting through some very well engineered meetings coupled with powerful presentations offering a superb experience.

I have also had the misfortune of sitting through many disorganised meetings  with predictable meeting agendas, death-by-PowerPoint content dump presentations, coupled with average audio visual setups and lousy food makes for an unfortunate waste of time and money.

Achieve better impact and offer a more meaningful and memorable event experience for your business and your audience by integrating these 3 simple steps;

1.     Deliver the right content in the right fashion!

Most meetings are faced with the same predicament; too much content to share and too little time to do so. The challenge then is what to present and how to deliver it effectively.

In preparation consider these 2 points;

  • The core objective should be communicating and connecting key messages with your audience.
  •  A lack of engagement during a meeting will occur when content is not delivered effectively or simply doesn’t strike the audience interests.

To be more effective, consider the audience first. What would be most interesting to them, what would they consider as valuable information? We are all aware of the studies on human attention spans and that most audiences are inattentive after 35 minutes, so use that as your benchmark.

I advise the 30:20:10 principle which I was introduced to by my friend John QuinnLinkedIn, the chief ‘Presentologist’ from Satellite Visual Communication. 30 minutes, 20 slides, 10 points.

We live in a world of information overload, so don’t do that in your presentation! They say images speak 1000 words, it is true, so be visual!

Rather than have slides of detailed text, use imagery and tell a story. A visual slide deck with less text accompanied by a good story is guaranteed to be far more effective than a text rich presentation where the audience is distracted trying to read your slides while you are trying to present.

2.      Set the Stage

Everything counts when you’re setting the stage for a truly engaging meeting. You want to instantly capture and retain the audience’s attention throughout the experience. Creating a conversational atmosphere can help spark strong, sustainable engagement from beginning to end.

Set the mood with coloured lighting, consider appropriate music for introductions and interludes, alternative seating arrangements to the normal school room style. The front, mid and back portions of the room could be set differently to allow the audience the freedom to determine where they want to participate from and engage you.

The point being you want an atmosphere that is memorable and different which will better connect the attendees to your presentation through a much more memorable engagement.

3.     Incorporate Distractions

We know that no one actually turns their smartphone off during a meeting or presentation. Audiences are continuously faced with tempting distractions in the form of email, texting, social media and various apps.

My recommendation is rather than attempting to limit distractions by asking attendees to “Please silence all cell phones!” is to embrace it in a way that you can leverage it.

Go viral and use social media if appropriate, create a #hashtag for your event and get your audience involved before the start date, create excitement, tweet about the program, invite people to submit questions to speakers, ask speakers to tweet about their sessions.

Incorporate mobile at the event to further create engagement, consider using a mobile event application which will drive audience’s attention to the content of your event.

Use Audience Response Technology (ART) to engage with the audience. This will not only lengthen attention spans but keep the focus on the presentations as the audience will be expecting to respond to questions.

Testing and gaining audience insights during presentations and offering an opportunity to contribute using ART can prove highly valuable in creating and delivering on your key objectives in more meaningful ways for attendees.

For organizations that are on strict budgets, gaining audience insight and feedback may be even more important in realizing meeting objectives.



About the author:

David WilsonLinkedIn is the Managing Director of Participate Technologies; a well-respected small business in South Africa, specialising in Interactive Engagement Technology for conferences, events and learning environments. Twitter @davewsa / @participateSA 

Three Simple Tips to Create Better Meeting Experiences2016-12-14T15:30:57+02:00