How to use technology to engage at an event, not distract

How to use technology to engage at an event, not distract

A number of event organisers are banning mobile phones from their events in an effort to better engage and interact with the attendees. With technology being such a powerful communication tool it’s easy to find this idea totally contradictory. Why not use the attendees’ technology to better engage them?

Mobile phones are one of the few things that we check our pockets for before we leave the house. By removing the use of personal devices, you run the risk of distancing your audience or losing them altogether – the complete opposite of connecting and engaging.

Mobile is here to stay and it is up to event organisers to embrace it, not shun it. Here’s a couple of tips on doing so:

Live polling

Live polling and votes integrate the audience into the event. Not everybody is comfortable with answering questions in front of a crowd so live polling via an app can sustain the audience’s attention to the content. The votes could be to answer questions or could even dictate the path that the event takes – perhaps voting on what topic is covered next by the speaker.

Real-time results can then be displayed on-stage. Putting the results on-stage reverts the audience’s eyes back away from their device.


We all like to play games, it is part of our competitive nature. Games can be effectively used at business events as a method of team bonding.

In particular, team games can present a great opportunity to encourage interaction between attendees and also add some competition. A leader board can also be updated as a live feed. Mobile devices could be used to provide answers, take photos or scan QR codes – whatever the needs for your proposed game, attendees devices can most likely be integrated into it.

Real-time social screen

Having a real-time projection of the latest social media posts from attendees is particularly useful at exhibitions and large scale events. It involves the attendees and by using hashtags it gives organisers the chance to look at what attendees’ opinions are. Everybody wants to see their name on the big screen and this is a powerful recognition of that.

The extent and power of technology available in today’s world means that it’s possible to use technology to do whatever you need it to. By empowering attendees and allowing them to use their devices to become better involved in an event, you can engage them and prevent them from using their devices for the wrong reasons.


Rosie Priestley is a Director of Toolshed Communications.