Learn from Each Other with Exploratory Interactivity

By Tommy Brotte

Over the past few weeks we have gone through some different techniques that you as a meeting organizer and event planner can use to create more interactive, memorable and successful meetings. We have previously addressed Rhetorical interactivity and Idea-generating interactivity, and now we have come to the third and final part of this series: Exploratory interactivity.

Anonymity is crucial

Exploratory interactivity is a technique that you can use at your meetings to gain a better understanding of your participants’ level of knowledge, opinions and thoughts on a particular and/or sensitive issue. It is very important that the participants feel safe and comfortable during the meeting in order for you as the organizer to get the most out of the technique, therefore you must always ensure that the participants can participate anonymously.

The exploratory panel debate

Many panel debates become just one more in the line of all “broadcasting” program items. But if you divide your panel debate into three parts, you get a number of benefits. You do part one just as usual. That is, a moderator asks questions to the participants and the participants present their thoughts and views. Then you take a break in the debate for about five minutes where the participants in the room can anonymously send in their thoughts, questions and reflections to the panel. Then either the participants themselves, the moderator or an “editorial board” can select questions for the panelists to answer for the rest of the program’s time. The advantage is partly that the conversation is about what is relevant to the participants, but above all, their questions and reflections become a treasure trove for you as an organizer to find out their thoughts, opinions and questions about the relevant subject area.

Are your participants along for the ride?

A customer were going to have an international two-day conference with top management from 37 countries. They were introducing a new business strategy. The arrangement was very simple, each department had 40 minutes at its disposal – 15 minutes could be used to present what they did, how it went and what would happen next, then, for five minutes, participants were allowed to anonymously submit thoughts, praise or question on what they had just heard. The participants were dedicated and after each section lots of thoughts, questions and reflections came in. They were very satisfied, but when the CEO in the evening after day one read the reflections more carefully, he realised that the majority of participants did not believe in the new strategy. A painful and problematic insight. But there was a real value in finding out now, and not 18 months later. Instead, the strategy could now be developed over a few intensive months and, to some extent, adapted to local conditions. Here, anonymity was directly crucial for the insights to emerge.

Would you like to know more?

Over the past few weeks I have been talking about three different types of interactivity: Rhetorical interactivity, Idea-generating interactivity and Exploratory interactivity. I hope you have had fun and been inspired by reading my texts. If you want to know more about interactivity, how you can create better meetings or if you would like to try out our event app – get in touch!

Tommy Brotte

+46 708 28 41 16