Innovative ways to engage your conference audience

NHS England is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health in the UK. NHS England oversees the budget, planning, delivery and day-to-day operation of the National Health Service in England.

In September 2017, Glisser teamed up with Dods Group and NHS England to drive engagement at their annual Health and Care Innovation Expo. With a record 5,068 attendees across two days, and speakers ranging from Simon Stevens, NHS England’s Chief Executive and Jeremy Hunt, the Secretary of State for Health , it was a perfect opportunity for senior NHS staff members to have their voices heard by key decision makers.

The NHS turns 70 next year, marking a pivotal moment for the service. It was essential that this event highlighted the fact that the NHS is as relevant and as innovative as it was when it was founded. This challenge required an equally innovative technology solution.

With one of the largest gatherings of NHS staff of the year, they wanted to capture feedback from the event, as well as making it simple for the audience to view important content, and engage with speakers and delegates alike.

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A connected National Health Service

 

Glisser’s first role was to enable Expo speakers to share their slides with the audience members simply and effectively. Glisser’s integrated event agenda makes it easy to upload content and to share it in real-time, as each slide was presented.

Instant access to slides continued to provide the delegates with value well after the two-day event had finished, with presentation downloads (including any digital notes) continuing into the following days as staff returned to work but wanted to be reminded of useful content.

An engaged National Health Service

 

The next role for Glisser was to allow the audience to voice their opinions throughout the event. As any conference organiser will know, Q&A sessions with handheld mics are usually clunky. Instead, Glisser lets the delegates ask questions from their phones through digital Q&A, and let them vote on the most popular.

Due to the topical and stimulating nature of the sessions, insightful questions came thick and fast, all of which were useful for NHS England to gauge their audience’s engagement and understand whether sessions were hitting the mark.

An innovative National Health Service

 

There were a few really great examples of sessions innovatively engaging their audience with Glisser.

Picture Polling

Pictures are a great visual way of getting the audience engaged, and Monday’s ‘Crossing the boundaries of integrated care’ session utilised picture live polling incredibly effectively. The audience were exploring what good care looks like and what they thought the biggest barriers to integrated care were, voting on visual stimulation rather than just plain text.

The session then ended with a free text poll: ‘what will you do differently after today?’, providing the session hosts with valuable insights into whether their content was impactful.

Layered Polling and Mid-Session Q&A

NHS Improvement also delivered a stellar session, packed with engagement. Ed Smith, the former chair of NHS Improvement, conducted the session, and was able to get insights from the audience, using a clever, ‘layered poll’ approach.

He began the session with a multiple choice poll exploring how important the audience thought the ‘Developing People Climate’ is in the NHS. Then, rather than follow the traditional format of ending with Q&A, Ed cut straight to it halfway through! This visibly stirred the audience, and the high levels of engagement reflected this. Finally, he finished with one last poll, exploring the five primary drivers for developing people and improving care.

How you can replicate this success at your event

 

Conduct a Q&A in the middle of the session.

None of the audience in Ed Smith’s sessions expected to be asked for their opinions halfway through, and it showed in the remarkably high levels of engagement.
 

Qualitative and quantitative insights.

The team organising Health and Care Innovation Expo were able to gather lots of insights through a combination of approaches. Their feedback polls had both a star rating to get an objective rating for each of the sessions, and some featured free text polls, letting the audience speak their minds.
 
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Get creative with your polls.

In our experience some of the most effective sessions at events, see the innovative use of Glisser’s picture polls, to engage the audience and gather valuable feedback.

NHS England is an executive non-departmental public body of the Department of Health in the UK.

NHS England oversees the budget, planning, delivery and day-to-day operation of the National Health Service in England.

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