56 Engagement Working the audience Abi Cannons, UK community manager at event tech specialists Slido considers how various tech tools improve audience participation nything that helps bridge the gap between the stage and audience is a great asset, as it allows the audience to guide the content to their advantage, keeping them engaged. Long gone are one-way presentations. The future of presenting is conversational, with both experts and participants active in the learning experience. Audience interaction tools also empower the silent event attendee, with anonymity getting to the heart of sensitive issues and topics. Some of the do’s and don’ts when maximising the effect of event technology include: - Having a clear goal in mind for what you want to achieve; never include technology for the sake of novelty. It will be obvious to your Transfer of power: The future of presenting is conversational audience if it doesn't have a clear relevance and the results won’t be as good. - Understanding your technology is crucial in getting the best from it. It’s the organiser’s job to ensure it’s embraced by the participants, moderators and speakers by being as simple as possible to use. Your tech company should be able to help you implement the technology for your conference as well as possible. But be sure to brief the moderators, speakers, team members and those that will deliver it on site, while external factors such as Wi-Fi and any additional hardware must be considered. Think about what features you really need, and which company or product offers those things in the best way for you. www.conference-news.co.uk Slido’s Switcher was used to great effect at IMEX 2017, part of a seamless transition between polls and Q&As, and presentations. This enabled presentations to include an interactive aspect that otherwise wouldn’t have featured, while allowing for a more conversational style to be adopted, vastly improving engagement and reducing the need for additional hardware. In terms of advice for organisers on what they can get for their money when using event technology, I would note that many event tech companies offer a free basic version. It is important to understand your exact requirements before deciding on a costed package. Aspects to consider would include: data security and branding opportunities.