How to Use Audience Response Systems to Boost Event Attendance and Satisfaction

Audience Response Systems, or ARS for short, have always formed a necessary part of the education process.

From asking school children to raise their hands to giving a paper pop quiz, sending an email survey to cold calling to gather responses for a poll, gathering feedback is essential to learning and growth.

But today’s ARS technology blows all previous methods away when it comes to real-time response, sophistication, universality of application and enjoyment.

For this reason, ARS technology has become a learn must-have for live and virtual events, conferences and courses. In this article, learn how to boost attendance at, and satisfaction with, any event through introduction of ARS.

How to Use Audience Response Systems

Audience Response System Options

Since WiFi connection (closed or open source) is an essential part of any modern ARS, there are many different approaches to ensure ARS is available for any venue.

Here are some of the most popular choices:

Closed-circuit all-inclusive ARS system. This type of solution includes WiFi network, response devices, presentation screen, data summaries.
Open-circuit ARS system. This type of solution uses an in-house WiFi connection and the attendees’ own smart devices.
Customized ARS systems. This type of solution builds a custom ARS based on venue, program goals and attendees’ technology.

Use an ARS to Conduct Quizzes and Exams

Many registrants seek out conferences and courses to meet their industry’s continuing education units (CEUs) requirements, to earn a secondary degree, to earn a higher level of certification or to obtain licensure. As such, quizzes and exams become a necessary (but often stressful and boring) part of the process.

The use of audience response systems can turn the process of taking quizzes and exams into a fun, interactive and paperless process for attendees and presenters alike.

Use ARS to Hold the Attention of Virtual Participants

Because ARS works just as well in a virtual event as a live-in-person event, it can also help virtual attendees feel more connected to the material, the presenter and other participants. In this case, the use of a customized or open-circuit ARS would be optimal.

Use an ARS to Keep in Touch Between Multiple-Session Events

Some presenters and course creators have begun to use audience response systems to keep in touch with participants between multiple-session events, whether it is an annual conference or a 9-session curriculum. From refreshing participants’ knowledge before a further session to gathering feedback about questions and problems, an ARS can ensure every participant leaves with his or her goals met.

Use an ARS to Facilitate Networking Opportunities

For many attendees the principle reason for attending an event is a requirement (company, CEUs, coursework, et al) and the principle perk tends to be networking. For most attendees, networking at events can lead to new collaborations, job opportunities, promotions and other high value outcomes.

Audience response systems can bring like-minded attendees together in breakout sessions or small groups or even help to build future courses based on subtopics from prior sessions. Also, an ARS poll can help assess interest in holding networking sessions during or after the event either online or in person.

By incorporating an ARS, it becomes possible to boost satisfaction scores by tailoring the material in real-time to attendees’ needs and goals.