Text Messaging: One of the Most Powerful Conference Technologies You’re Probably Not Using
Text messaging is a versatile tool.
It’s passive applications are well known such as sending out reminders, or providing important details and directions for large meetings. Recent text-to-screen innovations have expanded the usefulness of text messaging for conferences. For example, a text messaging applications allows conference leaders on stage to receive text from the audience and then display the text in real time on the large stage screens.
The use of text to screen apps makes conferences and large corporate meetings truly interactive.
Attendees can send questions via text messages to podium speakers, who can then modify presentations in real time to meet the needs and interests of the audience. This interactive connection can greatly enhance the conference value. Education specialists have long known the value of interactivity. Harvard physics professor Eric Mazur, a self-described “confirmed lecturer, became discouraged that his lectures were putting students asleep. In desperation one day, Mazur had his students discuss a question he had just asked.
He was surprised when the class had solved the problem in two minutes. He decided then and there to change his teaching style—from lecturer to interactive teacher. He has been amazed with the results. ““What I was able to show is that I doubled the learning gains. In fact, it tripled once I got better questions to ask in class and also much longer retention,” Mazur added, “I’ve never looked back.”
The use of a text messaging system allows for “gamification” of activities during the conference.
Gamification is an approach to increase learning and retention of information through the use of games. With text-to-screen capability conference organizers can establish games for the delegates that use text messaging, even as simple as trivia questions which conference attenders can answer by texts to the podium. Organizers can use these games to increase audience engagement, to drive traffic, or promote products during the conference.
Text messaging allows widespread involvement during question answer times and panel discussions.
The old method of passing around a microphone limited the number of questions and was very inefficient. With text-to-screen the amount of questions received and answer is greatly increased. As 20 Bedford Way event center blog states, “There is no need anymore for an assistant to run around with a mic, leaving awkward pauses.”
SMS allows for more complete and honest feedback.
This is especially important during corporate town hall type meetings, where business leaders need to interact with employees about serious issues. The use of text-to-screen apps helps to improve communication between employees and corporate leaders in two ways. First, it removes the fear public speaking that hinders many people.
As Preston Ni writes for Psychology Today, “Did you know that according to the Wall Street Journal, public speaking is the number one fear in America? The fear of death is ranked number two!” Second, the use of anonymous means to ask questions allows for more honesty and openness. For a business this is especially important for employee morale. “In employee attitude surveys, communication from management is almost always ranked low by employees…When employees feel “in the know”, they have a greater satisfaction level about the workplace,” writes William Hubbartt.
Though text messaging certainly has become such an important part of everyday life, there are still many new areas to pioneer in its application to modern life—especially as a tool in conference technologies.