If you had a chance to read April Moore’s interviews with IntoMotion President, Jack Cardinal, then you’ve already read a lot of excellent advice on gamification for training sessions. While all business events strive for audience engagement, training sessions have an even more pressing need to keep an audience’s attention. Training sessions take money and work hours, and a company certainly wants to make the most out of those expenditures. More importantly, training sessions MUST bring valuable information to the work team; it is essential that the information is passed on, understood, processed, and remembered. Training sessions directly impact a company’s success rate—but only if the learning process is a success.
Delightfully, games are an excellent way to distribute new information and to ensure that the audience understands it. Whether your training session focuses on learning a new skill, mastering a specific task, or improving a broader function, you can guarantee that a gamified training app can simulate and stimulate—simulating the conditions to which workers will need to adapt, while stimulating their creativity, their competitive nature, and their willingness to learn!
Simulations – taking note of the popularity of games like “The Sims” and “Farmville,” people find addictive challenges in games that put them in virtual management roles. Supporters and researchers suggest that simulations help put the user into a completely new environment—one that is seen, heard, and manipulated rather than simply “listened to.”
Information, alone, rarely makes people change their minds, but personal experience often does. Role-playing, like any good inquiry approach, transforms the content of education from information into experience.
Tests and Quizzes – tests and quizzes have been a part of education since education began. The only way to truly know if an individual understands a new concept is to ask them to explain it fully to you or to demonstrate its use. What’s changing is the idea that tests and quizzes need to continue to be boring pencil and paper ordeals. Gamification infuses testing with all the sights and sounds of games—it drives test-takers further and rewards them for their efforts.
Competitions- deep inside us all, we have the instinct to survive through competition. Gamified training sessions help tap into this competitive nature. Whether you use individual competition, team competition, or timed competition, nothing pushes people harder than the secret (or not so secret) desire to win.
Scoreboards and Leaderboards – be sure to encourage trainees through scoreboards and leaderboards. Not only are they an excellent way to promote engagement and a healthy spirit of competition, but trainees also view them as a reward for their hard work and accomplishments. Everyone likes to be recognized for their efforts!
By now, Event Planners (and everyone else) have realized that social media affects everything we do. In events, we have two choices: either ignore social media and hope for the best, or use social media platforms to enhance our event culture. The same principle applies to events and gaming! In our series on event gamification, this post will address the connection between social media and games. We’ll discuss some ideas to use when incorporating the two, as well as discussing some of the particular ways that social media gaming can make events more fun, while also helping to achieve business goals.
What defines a “Social Media Game”?
Social media gaming can seem similar to online gaming, and there are certainly overlapping qualities; however, a social media game is defined by three main characteristics:
A Social Network – it makes sense, social games are distributed through social networks, and many elements of the game depend upon making connections rather than simply playing alone. Furthermore, social media games offer the chance to incorporate a participant’s profile of revealed preferences—such as friends, demographics, outside interests and lifestyle information.
Shorter Playing Times – rather than more advanced interactive entertainment—such as role-playing games—social media games have a shorter playing time, but they have a focus that encourages repeated visits.
No Cost – social media gaming is usually free to play.
It’s easy to see how these three elements work well for business events. Obviously, event gaming would be free for participants—event planners would provide it through the social networking in an event app as a way to encourage a livelier event culture. Also, a shorter playing time injects energy and fun into an event, while not taking away too much valuable time—still allowing attendees to focus on the conference, trade show, or meeting at hand. Best of all, with social media gaming naturally pulling gamers together through a social channel or platform, it is a great way to broaden networking connections—encouraging people to work together for common goals.
Social media games fall into four basic categories:
Resource Management and Simulation
Of these four, the resource management and simulation games category is the most fertile ground for business events. While care-taking, gambling, and arcade games can still offer networking and team building potential by offering light-hearted fun and even (in some cases) relevant content for some industries, resource management and simulation games provide the most advanced opportunities for teamwork, goal-setting, and work-related challenges.
Social media gaming enhances business events by maximizing social networking and tapping existing relationships with other users, through invite systems, news feed postings, and user-to-user notifications—creating unique content and characters by tapping into a player’s existing social network.
Corporate events have a purpose. Events may be facilitating business relationships between companies or within companies, they may be promoting products, easing the exchange of ideas, breaking new ground, or celebrating past accomplishments. Whatever the purpose of your business event, it’s extremely likely that you can . . .
Make it Better by Making It a Game
Events can be overwhelming for attendees. Gamification can help your guests cut through the noise and get to the task at hand. Networking games accomplish goals, help attendees relax, and break the ice—all in one! Consider these networking game families as the beginning (or beginning, middle, and end) of your next meeting, trade show exhibit, or corporate event:
Arcade Games—although arcade games may not have an academic reputation, there are many good reasons why they’re so popular. They’re engaging and accessible since the rules are easy to understand and follow, yet they’re compelling and challenging in their own right. They’re also relaxing and exciting—somehow at the same time. Use this to your advantage by offering an arcade game in your event app—you’ll set the mood for fun and help put guests at ease. Be certain to tie game players into a live leaderboard, show player names and profiles, offer prizes relevant to your event, or possibly provide a gamer-tech lounge as ways to pull attendees together into a common experience.
Trivia and Quizzes—trivia night has been popular at restaurants and pubs for years, and for good reasons. This style of gaming takes absolutely NO explanation, so anyone who can read is competition ready. As an extra bonus, quizzes and trivia can cover any topic, so it’s easy to make this gaming educational and relevant. For networking and event purposes, consider personal trivia regarding speakers, company or industry leaders, or team members—such as “Which team member served in the Peace Corps in Mongolia?”—giving interesting topics to start conversations.
Puzzles—although more solitary and less active than other game forms, puzzles appeal strongly to many types of people. Puzzles such as picture scrambles, word games, and code-breaking can still be event-themed. Live leaderboards can display winners by profiles and fastest times, and consider offering prizes at a common gathering area where like-minded people can meet.
Getting-to-Know-You Games—your event comes with a new and fascinating group of people. Traditional icebreaker and introduction games can be run through your app, established as forums, or even hosted the traditional way—in person–with your app sending out the message, “Icebreaker Games in the Green Room at 5pm.”
Quests and Scavenger Hunts—always an excellent and easy way to get people moving, exploring new territory and meeting new people, quests and scavenger hunts can easily get people into the spirit of adventure. For event relevant content, have participants search for facts, clues, or for location-specific iBeacons that offer great networking potential as participants, inevitably, meet other people on “the quest.”
Next week we’ll discuss gamification for team building!
We’ve been discussing the vast potential of event apps. Moving forward, we examine another remarkable benefit of this modern day event innovation—real time communication for attendees. In this day and age, we’re used to instant messaging; however, an event app can use instant contact to take your networking, event planning, scheduling, feedback, sessions, and social media to a higher level. Let’s look at all the ways that your event app can instantly connect and facilitate!
Individual notifications – one of the simplest ways that your event app can make life easier for your attendees is through individual notifications. These messages can help keep attendees on top of their personalized agenda, meetings, sessions, conversations and more. The world is a happier, less-stressful place when we know that we have an electronic assistant backing us up with gentle reminders about our commitments!
Virtual help desk – allow attendees to instantly get assistance from the event organizing staff! Rather than letting guests flounder in uncertainty or hunt through online resources—set up a clear, instant channel that allows your attendees to quickly ask questions from those in-the-know, and then get back to the business at hand.
Instant messaging – event networking and scheduling is infinitely easier with direct and instant messaging between attendees. If your event is about connecting people and businesses, allowing them to instantly contact other event participants is a clear winner. Your event app should offer attendees a chance to connect through their event specific profiles, eliminating the need for individuals’ emails and phone numbers to be exchanged prematurely.
Group messaging – one step sideways from instant messaging is group messaging—facilitating communication and conversation, while also promoting team-building and communities. This is also a great way to encourage (our next point) brainstorming.
Brainstorming and crowdsourcing – if your conference or meeting is looking to solve problems and move projects forward, brainstorming and crowdsourcing are excellent methods for gathering information and insight across a broad collection of experts and innovators. These can be the tools that let your event app help develop the next great idea!
Presentation customization – if your business goals revolve around decision-making, if you’re interested in gathering ideas from session attendees, or maybe you’d like to increase interest in your trade show booth or product line, using real-time communication for gathering ideas and content can give you instant material on which to base customized presentations. Instant messaging can be used to help tailor your presentation, AS YOU GIVE IT, to suit your audience precisely.
Question and answer sessions – at the end of a lecture or presentation, let your event app facilitate a truly helpful question and answer session—one that allows information and ideas to be exchanged freely.
Next week we’ll delve into ratings and feedback—some of the ways that you can use data from your event app to guarantee that your events improve year after year!
CRE Rentals can provide the iPad rentals, WiFi booster, digital signage, and laptops that can engage attendees and boost ROI! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725
Moving into the eighth part of this series on event apps, we’ll look at ways to truly impress your guests with suggestions that utilize apps to personalize an experience just for them! Although your event app has thoroughly covered organization, personalization takes it to a new level; these options and suggestions are about MORE than just keeping tabs on the schedule. Consider the following possibilities for creating an event app that feels (and IS) uniquely tailored for each attendee.
Create your own custom schedule – each attendee is participating in the same event; however, each attendee will have a different experience. That experience begins with the unique goals they bring to the conference, meeting, or trade show. Whether they’re exhibiting, speaking, networking, researching, reporting, or problem-solving, every attendee sees your event through the lens of their individual perspective. They need ways to boil potential activities down to a concentrated form which filters out the most relevant opportunities for them—a custom schedule that provides them with an individualized view of event info!
Personalized agendas – for meetings, sessions, and conferences, integrating personalized agendas into your event app is an excellent way to help increase productivity, providing attendees with precisely the information they need to ensure that they’re prepared, before and during sessions.
Customized landing pages – customized landing pages help set the tone for your event. Use landing pages to kick off each day of an event or to put the focus on different facets of your event’s mission. Customized landed pages are also an excellent opportunity for sponsorships!
Personalized bookmarks – we’re all familiar with bookmarks. Within the context of your event app, personalized bookmarks are an invaluable tool for allowing attendees to keep tabs on the ideas, sessions, documents, forums, speakers, and fellow attendees that are most useful to them.
Customized private meeting scheduling – even without an event app, it’s not difficult to arrange a private meeting with someone; however, a good event app should make it possible to arrange private meeting scheduling with the touch of a button. Ideally, attendees will receive a customized list of potential networking contacts, select a fellow attendee with whom they’d like to meet, set a time and receive confirmation, and—most importantly—be given a private meeting room onsite. All of these things can happen through the convenience of your event app—customized for them.
Continuing with this series, we’ll discuss the miraculous ways that your event app can keep every guest, visitor, exhibitor, and attendee instantly updated. Next week—“How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Nine: The Power of Real-Time.”
CRE has digital signage, touch screen kiosks, iPad rentals, laptops, and other event technology that can help you produce a truly stunning event! Give us a call today! 877-266-7725
In the seventh part of this series on event apps, we’ll continue examining the social networking options that can enhance your app. Studies show that many event attendees choose to return to business events year after year because of the chance to renew social connections they’ve formed with colleagues. Clearly, social networking benefits an event on multiple levels by helping businesses, helping attendees, and self-promoting the event itself—increasing attendance for the future.
In our previous post, we discussed LinkedIn, personalized lists, social sharing, Twitter conversations, and meeting scheduling. Moving forward with more options, consider the following possibilities:
Forums – forums are a wonderful opportunity for allowing easy communication. Whether your forums are digital meet-and-greets, problem-solving, or brainstorming sessions, they’re an excellent way to start conversations and gauge the feel of the crowd—or the industry!
Facilitated Follow-through – your exhibitors and attendees need to take their contacts to the next level. Check to see if your app allows easy integration with Customer Relationship Management tools.
Community Wall – social sharing is very valuable when you present it on a community wall. If your attendees and exhibitors extend their social media mentions outside the realm of your event, this certainly helps spread the scope of your event marketing to new and potentially valuable territory; however, there’s a lot to be said for ensuring that you have a great running feed of ideas, comments, experiences, and memories populating a community wall dedicated to the event itself. What better way to present the lively culture that you’ve created?
Team Building – depending on the type of event, team building may be part of your mission. If this is the case, the social networking in your event app can be tailored to bring groups together for meetings, content, games, and sessions that are specifically for them.
Networking Games – in the future, we’ll run an entire series devoted to the vast and rapidly expanding world of networking games! For the purposes of this series, remember that games have always been a way of bringing people together for fun. In fact, games have been a part of human social networking and interaction . . . most likely since the time of cave paintings. Feel free to read our article, Gamification for Events, giving more detail on the amazing benefits that gamification is having on corporate culture and events!
Year-round Engagement – catching up with friends and colleagues is one of the benefits of attending events and conferences. If your event app allows attendees to forge strong new business contacts, you’re much more likely to see increased attendance time after time!
Next week we’ll discuss how to really impress your attendees, in the post, “How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Eight: Personalization.”
CRE has all the technology that you need to make your business event successful! Our Digital Signage, Touch Screen rentals, Interactive Kiosks , iPads and iPad minis can enhance your event and increase your app adoption rate. Give us a call today! 877-266-7725
Your attendees have stepped through the door with your event app guiding them along their route. Now that they’ve arrived, they’re ready to begin information sharing and networking—the reasons they came to the event. However, a trade show, exposition, conference, or meeting is a whirlwind of activity and information. A well-designed event app helps event attendees organize all of the information and potential of a business event.
After maps and wayfinding, the next stage of organization for your event app should revolve around the agenda and scheduling. Your attendees may be asking themselves the following questions that your event app can answer:
Which speakers are most exciting?
Which breakout sessions would I find most helpful?
Which exhibitors are most relevant to me?
You event app should have a searchable agenda with detailed information on the meetings, speakers, presentations, demonstrations, sessions, and exhibitors. Attendees should be able to:
easily search through opportunities
select the options that interest them the most
quickly access exhibitor and speaker pages that help them decide which sessions to attend
move information on that session into their personal schedule
receive reminders and wayfinding information specific to their selections
access session presentation slides, speaker notes, and documents related to the sessions
For additional organizational support, your app can provide:
Documents and abstracts – if the goal of any business event is to facilitate networking and information-sharing, then your app should allow attendees to easily gather the materials they need on the sessions they’ve attended. Activate document viewing and sharing.
Virtual literature – promotional pamphlets and light informational reading can be presented and distributed through connections on the app for speakers, sessions, services and exhibitors.
Notes and note taking – present note taking and voice recording options that allow attendees to capture important ideas or comments on sessions they attend.
To-Do lists – allow list-making to help attendees accomplish their goals.
Personal online briefcase – this service allows attendees quick and easy access to the relevant information that they would like to distribute about themselves and their business.
Registration, check-ins and ticketing – from event registration to session check-ins, your event app needs to gather attendee information and collect data on floor tracking. Use your app to facilitate this detail for attendees so that you can provide detailed data for your clients.
Reservations – room booking and sponsored suite reservations are an excellent additional service.
Table arrangements – make this step easier on yourself, your staff, and your guests. Let everyone know where they “stand” with seating.
Translation services – a quick translation service or multiple language app may be useful depending on your industry and event location.
Multiple events – if you’re lucky enough to have regular events and repeat visitors, your app should immediately connect them with information about your events—past, present, and future.
Lead retrieval – for both attendees and exhibitors, gathering information on potential business leads is critical!
Stay tuned to this series! Next week—“How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Six: Social Networking.”
CRE has Event Production Technology and the latest hardware to support your business event. Whether you need iPads rentals, Charging Stations or Interactive Kiosks, give us a call today! 877-266-7725
In the fourth part of this series on event apps, we’ll discuss the foundation of wayfinding. Your event attendees are guests, many of whom are new to your conference, meeting, or trade show venue. From the moment your attendees leave their home or office, your event app should be in place—showing them the path directly to your registration desk.
Hopefully, your event app has been live and active FAR before your event occurs. If so, you’re in the position to help guide your attendees as they make their own travel and accommodation plans. Consider building the following local and regional information into your app, providing extra convenience and allowing your guests to build a better overall experience:
Detailed hotel options with easy reservations
Local restaurant choices
Supplemental services such as dry cleaning, printing, and office supplies
Shopping for recreation or last minute personal items
Local attractions for after hours, sight-seeing, or places of interest
Local airports, travel, and flight information
As soon as your guests reach the venue, they should receive detailed on-sight navigation information, such as highly interactive venue or trade show floor maps. These maps should have searching and zooming capabilities, links for speaker profiles and exhibitor pages—helping your attendees navigate the venue itself and obtain the services and sessions that they need. Your interactive maps can contain any or all of the following options:
Interactive floor plans
Registration location and information
Location and scheduling for sessions
Searching, zooming, and printing
Explore the full potential of interactive show mapping with these two services:
MapYourShow – The interactive floor plan and integrated directory are the meat and potatoes of this event mapping service—assisting you with management, sponsorships, floor plan creation, exhibition, and attendance.
ExpoRep – Beginning with your map, this service rebuilds it using their software—creating an interactive map from nearly any file type. They add your branding, provide training, and offer tools to manage inventory. Their maps provide access to full exhibitor profiles, searching, booth types, availability, registration, and sponsors. They can also include documents or additional relevant links, such as exhibitor contracts and important show information.
Stay tuned to this series! Next week—“How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Five: Organization.”
In the third part of this series on event apps, we’ll discuss what your attendees most want and need from your app. Boiled down to the very basics, your attendees want NAVIGATION—they need help finding their way through the masses of possibilities and volumes of information available regarding your event. Let’s look at the different ways that navigation applies across multiple aspects of the event experience.
Maps and Local Info– in its simplest form, navigation applies to where your attendees are going. Where are they trying to end up, and how do they get there? If your app does nothing more, it should help attendees find their way through your venue to the sessions and amenities that they need.
Organization – your event provides a tremendous number of opportunities, but it also adds to an attendee’s work and stress load. Your event app must help attendees filter through the possibilities; it needs to make planning easier for your guests. Ideally, guests can search through sessions or exhibitors by keywords—then immediately plan them into their calendar and locate them within the venue.
Social Networking – attendees take the time to come to events for two reasons – gathering information and making contacts. Your app needs to help attendees navigate through the crowds of people and find the contacts that are most useful and valuable for them. These days, everyone has a social media network that they prefer for business and professional use. Attendees will expect advanced networking possibilities from your event app. Your app needs to provide a convenient, concentrated platform where digital contacts can be formed within the framework of your event and where the conversations are focused on the experiences of the event itself.
Personalization – beginning with the event agenda, attendees want to create their own path and forge their own experience, one that is tailored to their unique business needs. The ideal event app makes it easy for guests to carve their own personalized itinerary from the overall offerings—letting them get in and out with exactly the information they needed and with their goals achieved.
Real-time Notification – with instant messaging a standard now, your event app needs to instantaneously deliver changes and reminders directly to guests. It should also facilitate messaging between event participants, creating another opportunity for networking.
Ratings and Feedback – your guests have strong ideas about what they like and don’t like, and it’s best to allow comments as the experience is occurring. Allowing ratings during an event helps everyone—attendees can see which sessions, speakers, and exhibitors are most worth their time, exhibitors have a chance to receive constructive criticism, and you, as an event manager, can see what’s working and what’s not, making a better experience overall.
Stay tuned to this series, as we delve into specific details on how to achieve each of these! Next week—“How to Succeed with Event Apps—Part Four: Maps and More!”
In the second part of this series on event apps, we’ll discuss two technological breakthroughs that are revolutionizing the event attendee experience. An event app is a unique tool, custom-designed to provide your attendees with all of the relevant meeting, conference, convention, trade show and information that they could ever want—as well as useful knowledge about the area surrounding the venue. It’s an excellent opportunity to provide services for your event visitors, exhibitors, and sponsors—vital services such as information and networking potential. The success of your event app can GREATLY enhance the overall success of your event!
As you begin development of your app, consider these amazing technological breakthroughs that can open a WORLD of opportunities for engaging attendees.
iBeacons – Apple’s offering in the world of device-based location services, iBeacons are a way to create truly customized content delivery. Unlike GPS, which provides geographic location, beacons are a low-energy indoor proximity system able to detect when a device is within its precise vicinity. Their ability to connect and communicate with devices within range makes them a fantastic tool for interactive experiences! For example, imagine walking up to any piece of artwork in a museum and to have your headset immediately provide information on the piece you’re viewing—without pushing buttons, selecting downloads, finding and opening pamphlets, or matching up exhibit numbers. iBeacons give your visitors a tour guide in their pocket—without the hassle of searching, selecting, and scrolling. Imagine beacons that can personally welcome your visitors and direct them to where they need to go.
Augmented Reality – taking iBeacons one step further is the concept of augmented reality. With augmented reality, sensory input such as sound, video and graphics are connected in real-time with environmental elements. In the case of trade shows, for example, this could mean that iBeacons in the app trigger a presentation of video and directional speakers focused on the exact spot where a visitor is standing! For conventions and trade shows, each exhibitor can custom craft an interactive display of directional speakers, customized lights, and 3D graphics—set to amaze and absorb visitors at their booths.
With these options, you have the opportunity to take your event app off the screen and to integrate it into your visitors’ experience. Business events strive to educate, engage, and incorporate people—with products, services, and with professional networking. An event app strengthened with these interactive technologies is primed to SUCCEED!