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IncentiveWorks Tips: Five Ways to Use Tech Right

IncentiveWorks Tips: Five Ways to Use Tech Right

Sometimes technology for your attendees feels like a double-edged sword. The cost of event WiFi can take up half your budget, yet it seems as though the first thing attendees use it for is complaints—often about connection issues.

Technology can help your event but can also greatly distract from and hinder it to the point where we need to ask ourselves, should we be using it, rather than can we be using it.

Here are five things to consider before deciding how tech-savvy your event should be:

1. Old rules for new tech

Believe it or not, I have keynoted tech conferences where the emcee requested everyone turn off their phones. Some speakers prefer this 1990’s rule because it forces the audience to pay attention to their talk. But it’s the speaker’s fault if their content isn’t more exciting than Candy Crush. Their goal should be to make the content so good that no one wants to check their phones, but so compelling they want to tweet about it.

2. Taking the tech pulse

Creating hashtags and Instagram accounts because you want to seem tech savvy is a great way to ostracize a non-tech audience. I’ve done the same talk to audiences that generate hundreds of tweets or no tweets depending on the group. Consider your audience and their comfort level with a platform before rolling out the hashtag you want to trend. It isn’t a measure of success for every audience.

3. Canadians are more tech savvy than ever

More than half of all Canadians, of all ages, own a smartphone. Just because your audience wasn’t tech friendly five years ago doesn’t mean they aren’t today. Ask them. Poll your attendees before the event to get a better feel. And never use tech because you can—use it because you should.

4. Renovating your digital presence

Google recently announced that non-mobile friendly websites would be penalized in search results. Combine that with the percentage of connected Canadians and realize that your conference site needs to play nice with the 18 million smartphones in the country. Mobile isn’t what’s coming next—its what’s now.

5. Hashtag #beware

Conference hashtags have been all the rage for a while now. They are searchable, easy to use and work across social platforms. The danger can be when people create their own hashtags for your event or leverage yours for spam. Most frequently, I see problems arising when events do not properly monitor their hashtag in real-time. Because hashtags are a real-time tool, they can’t be checked periodically or two weeks after your event is over and they should never, ever be on a screen behind a speaker—nothing is more distracting to the audience or the person on stage.

Technology is wonderful, painful and not going anywhere. Keeping these five points in mind will save you some online grief down the road.