Audience Response Systems increase meeting productivity

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Meetings, conferences and training sessions are using Audience Response Systems (ARS) to quickly make group decisions and as a technique to keep audiences engaged. There are different types of ARS for different applications.

Many organizations use Audience Response Systems to help make their sessions more efficient and productive. An association, for example, can manage voting with an electronic voting system that quickly tallies a vote and delivers a response in seconds. A paper system requires people to collect, count and then report the findings – a very time consuming process. An electronic system is also much more accurate than counting hands at a large conference. This is important when a vote needs to meet specific criteria to be passed or defeated.

Many boardrooms have a conference microphone system that includes voting functions. The microphone console usually includes a goose-neck microphone, audio speaker, a light to signal which microphone is activated, and as well, a voting key.

ARS use two types of technology. The traditional Radio Frequency (RF) system and the web browser-based systems. The RF systems work with a dedicated keypad given to each delegate. The questions are presented to the delegates. When they enter their response, it is transmitted to the base station which tabulates and presents results.

The web-browser versions are software solutions and work over the internet. They can also work with a dedicated keypad or with a smartphone, tablet, laptop or computer – anywhere  you have an internet connection. The online solutions can be used in a traditional meeting where the participants already have a smartphone requiring only a few keypads for those without wireless access. Online solutions are also suitable for virtual meetings such as videoconferences and webcasts.

Many face-to-face conferences include a virtual webcast or videoconference to extend the event’s reach to a larger audience. A hybrid ARS could be used for this. The face-to-face participants can have a keypad and the virtual participants can participate with the event online.

ARS is a great way to keep an audience actively thinking about the presentation material. Questions can be written into a presentation at key points of the presentation. It helps the speaker and the audience connect, whether it is a speaker in a conference centre with a ballroom of 500 delegates or an online session with delegates around the world. ARS keeps the online audience from drifting away to their email or phone calls that are competing for the attention of the virtual delegate.

There are options to some systems that include the ability to weight votes. Some positions within an organization cast votes that are valued at two, three or four times the standard delegate vote.

Large systems can be rented from your AV supplier for one-time use and smaller systems for boardrooms and training facilities can be purchased for day-to-day use.  Consult with your AV company to learn what type of Audience Response System and service will increase the productivity of your meetings and training.

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