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Photo Credit: Masters in Moderation

Tools are there to help us, not to take over

Tools created to engage audiences at events make the lives of moderators, speakers, and attendees easier and, ultimately, contribute to creating memorable events. Nonetheless, moderators and speakers alike throw a tantrum regularly over the poor use of these tools. In many cases, they are not used to their full potential or are even used in ways that affect the outcome of an event.

There are numerous spectacular tools out there that can make any meeting better. Among them, Slido, PresentersWall, ConsensIQ, Piccles, and Twine have become household names within the meetings industry. When used well, they are worth the investment. When used poorly, they are a waste of money.

Below are a few rules Masters in Moderation’s Jan-Jaap In der Maur swears by when implementing engagement tools:

It’s not a gimmick!

Too often, engagement tools are used for the sake of using them. In that case, attendees will be annoyed and not engaged. And it is an insult to the developers of the tool. So make sure you make a deliberate choice for a specific solution and then use it wisely.

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Photo Credit: Masters in Moderation

Make it human

In many cases, we see participants locked up on their screens all day long. When using engagement tools, combine them with human2human interaction.

It is easy to imagine: if you have your participants communicate through their devices all meeting long, this will become the standard for that event. When going to lunch or in breakout groups, this will hamper conversation. Everyone will be more inclined to dive into an email or social media since you told them subconsciously that this is the norm for this meeting.

Make a choice

Each tool has its strong points and its limitations. Some are perfect for bringing energy, others for sharing info & insights, some for getting to know each other, and some for making choices.

Masters in Moderation’s tool ConsensIQ is designed for deeper dialogue. It can be used when participants wish to share ideas, debate, listen and take joint decisions. One tool is not better than the other. They are just different, designed to meet different needs. Hence, inform yourself and choose for the occasion.

Use for context

Too often, the tools have no relation to the rest of the program, helping neither the tool nor the event. If you want to use a networking tool, make sure it has a direct relation to the previous element in the schedule and the next point on the agenda.

Make them talk

People communicate best when they have a dialogue. Technology is just a tool! Thus, have participants discuss amongst themselves first before you have them vote. Combining the human connection and the tools will drive the results of your meeting.

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Photo Credit: Masters in Moderation

Analogue and digital need each other

Sure, tech is powerful. It will give you an overview of opinions in seconds, and it will make all participants connect as a group. Moreover, it will provide big data and ensure everyone gets a say.

Yet, analogue work formats have powers too: they bring energy, make you connect to individuals, and bring everyone new insights. So why not combine body voting and digital polling? Why not sometimes choose the quick raise of hands over the tool; and the other way around?

Using engagement tools to the max is about design and making deliberate choices. Tools are there to help us, not to take over everything.

To learn more about moderation, be it at in-person events or online, learn from the best in the business and subscribe to one of Masters in Moderation’s workshops (https://mastersinmoderation.com/training-and-coaching). Also, read an interview with Jan-Jaap In der Maur here.

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