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Five engagement tools for healthcare events 

By Alistair Barton, Project Director at SWM Partners

Whether you’re planning in-person, hybrid, or virtual healthcare events – or a comb​​ination of the three – audience engagement is a key priority across all formats.

An engaged audience means attendees will leave a meeting feeling inspired and informed. They will have gained invaluable insight about a product or trial, which in turn ensures it – along with your brand – remains in their minds long after the event wraps up, and developed meaningful connections with like-minded individuals.

With the rise of technology we’ve seen attention spans become much shorter – in fact, according to research it declined from 12 seconds in 2000, to 8.25 seconds in 2015.

So what are some of the best ways to engage healthcare attendees today?

Interactive presentations for active and flexible contribution

Sharing complex data and information, and ensuring it is captured, requires creative, vibrant, and interactive presentations. This means looking beyond a traditional deck, and providing audience members with the opportunity to get ‘hands on.’

Mentimeter, for example, offers The Mentimote feature, where speakers can control presentations from their phone, eliminating the need to remain in the one place, and allowing for more organic two-way communication. At the same time, attendees can view the content on their preferred device, including smartphones, which means they are able to consume the information even when on the go.

Inviting attendees to view presentations on their devices can help to ensure information is retained. Tools such as Glisser allow for the building of branded presentations complete with integrated audience Q&As and Q&A moderation, there’s an option where attendees can like certain elements of a presentation, and also add their own personalised notes for referring to at a later date.

Immersive technologies: applications in healthcare

Wearables such as augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) present an effective way to engage people in both in-person and virtual environments, as they provide audience members with, for example, opportunities to explore how a clinical trial has positively impacted participants, and enable them to better understand the composition of a new drug that’s set to go to market. There are various companies who provide these technologies today, ranging from Oculus and Apple, to Microsoft and Samsung.

When it comes to more recent technology developments, companies such as HYPERVSN have developed 3D holographic visuals that are designed to appear as though they are floating in the air (and are worth considering across in-person events and virtual livestreams), meanwhile the metaverse deserves a mention here also.

While the metaverse is known for its use in predominantly gaming and consumer-facing experiences, there is a place for it in healthcare too. Essentially it relates to the creation of completely virtual worlds which enable interaction among people, as well as the formation of communities that exist beyond a single event – Wunderman Thompson included metasocieties in it’s The Future 100 2022, which refers to digital realities that are created in this space.

AI-driven personalisation

Personalised matchmaking and networking is a trend that continues to gain momentum, and developments in artificial intelligence (AI) make this more achievable than ever before. Event communications are central to success here, as they allow for the sharing of pre-event surveys where valuable attendee information can be acquired, and then leveraged to formulate experiences that are unique to each individual, driving engagement in the process.

Analysing the live data and following up with post-event surveys and feedback forms adds another layer of value here, as the information can be leveraged to create effective meetings and events in the future. A number of platforms are driven by AI today, including Grip and Aventri.

Facilitating friendly competition and play

Learning in less conventional ways can equate to greater retention, ensuring key information about a product or trial is remembered long into the future, while also creating more memorable and authentic interactions among the audience.

Gamification tools such as Loquiz and EventMobi can be leveraged to create quizzes and scavenger hunts, as well as reward audience members for taking particular actions, such as making connection requests and attending key sessions.

(Video) content remains king

There’s no better way to engage an audience across the pre, during and post-event stages than by incorporating bite sized, animated video content into an event’s communication strategy.

Taking this approach before the event can generate intrigue and drive attendance, the use of animated video content during the event can help to translate complex information into easily digestible soundbites, meanwhile the sharing of key resources and event takeaways in this format ensures attendees are able to access information with ease.

A key tip? Make sure you include content on the screen, as research has found that 83% of people watch videos with the sound off.

Here at SWM Partners we strive to remain on top of the latest engagement tools and developments, to ensure you achieve your event goals. We recognise that no two events are the same, and recommend developing a bespoke engagement strategy that reflects your objectives, and your audience.

Why not get in touch to discuss your engagement needs:

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