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8 Tips for formulating powerful statements

8 Tips for formulating powerful statements

Spicy discussions. They’re fruitful for every organization. And an event is a great context to facilitate this: by means of a panel discussion or a debate. A good discussion starts with a well formulated statement. Easier said than done. That’s why we’re happy to share 8 tips on formulating powerful statements.

  • Formulate positive: A statement that is formulated negatively, easily raises confusion. E.g. “Alcohol commercials shouldn’t be prohibited”. Instead formulate “Alcohol commercials should be prohibited”. The last statement is clearer and therefore easier to answer!
  • Be controversial: It’s simple, a statement that everyone agrees with, won’t spark a discussion. Try to be on the edge. How about “In Amsterdam all museums should be freely accessible to everyone”?
  • Stay objective: Prevent misunderstanding and formulate objectively. Words like “often”, “beautiful” or “difficult” are subjective. “The beautiful city of York should be protected from mass tourism”. What is beautiful for you, might be ugly to somebody else. Therefore and in this case, leave out the word “beautiful”.
  • Prevent doubles: It easily happens that, without being aware, you put two statements in one formulation. E.g. “Employees should be able to decide on their own working times and days”. In this case you could agree partly: maybe on Friday you find colleagues can decide on their own working times, but not on a Monday. How now to vote? Scan your statement on these types of double statements.
  • Keep it short and simple [KISS]! The shorter, more controversial and clearer your statement, the more passionate the discussion with your speakers and audience will be.
  • Let somebody check your statements: Once you’ve formulated your statements, you might want to ask somebody else to read them. The last thing you want during your event is a discussion or misunderstanding amongst your audience about the formulation of your statement.
  • Brief panelists in advance: Now that you’re satisfied with your statements, you can brief your panelists ahead of the actual event: this way they can prepare what to say and how to contribute. However, this might be different per occasion: if you want to keep the panel discussion more spontaneous, then obviously don’t do this.
  • Engage your audience: Panel discussions can easily become static, therefore engage the audience frequently. When introducing a statement among the individual panelists, first let the audience vote ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ through interactive voting tool Sendsteps. Before showing the results, ask a panelist on how he/she thinks the audience will react. Then show the results and either confirm the panel in their reasoning or friendly confront them. For sure you now have an energetic kick-off of your debate or panel discussion!
From here we wish you a great and valuable discussion!

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!


 

7 Important Tips To Help You With Public Speaking Skills

7 Important Tips To Help You With Public Speaking Skills

Most people are unable to speak to huge crowds; others are uncomfortable to even address small group meetings of less than 50 people. When offered opportunities to speak in public, such people opt to decline or when they are forced by circumstances to speak, they are unable to express themselves clearly. If you are one of these people, you need to work on your public speaking skills if you are to succeed in your career and life in general. Inability to persuade clients or potential investors, to explain yourself to your peers or group members, or to create professional networks and connections will limit your potential, one way or another. That being said, here are 7 tips that can help you with public speaking skills.

  • Purpose to be brief and simple. The next time you are speaking in public, avoid heavy jargon, boneshakers, long sentences, and complex paragraphs. The key is to relay your ideas to your audience in small, digestible bits. If you use words they don’t understand, they will get bored and disinterested within the first 2 minutes of your address. If you choose to be sophisticated, your speech might come out as undefined and unnecessarily long. It is best that you deliver your speech in the minimal time possible- to go straight to the point.
  • Purpose to give, not to take. The greatest mistake you can make when preparing your speech is to bank your delivery on a positive response from the audience. Always know that the burden of making the presentation lively and fruitful lies squarely on your shoulders. The audience is not obligated to buy your products or agree with your ideas. In fact, they don’t have to like you or follow you on social media. It is your job to engage the audience and make them see value in your presentation; to teach them something valuable. You need to inspire them into buying your subscription, product, or idea. Prepare to give, not to take.
  • Work on your non-verbal speaking skills. People will notice even the slightest changes in your body language. In fact, studies show that for every 15-minute presentation, the audience spends 93% of the time focusing on your facial expressions, gestures, and body movement. What comes from your mouth contributes to only 7% of your speech’s failure or success.
    Some of the important non-verbal speaking skills that you should cultivate include:
  • Moving around the podium or whichever space you’ve been given. Don’t move too fast though.
  • Making hand gestures that match well with the words coming out of your mouth. Be careful not to use the same gestures for different paragraphs or to overuse one gesture no matter how accurate it is.
  • Matching your facial expressions with the mood in the room.
  • Join a public speaking class. There are many public speaking courses that you can enroll for if you often get nervous at the thought of speaking in public. A good public speaking class will equip you with all the skills and strategies you need to beat the fear and nervousness that holds you back from speaking in front of people.
  • Avoid the temptation of reading your speech. When you read your speech to an audience, everyone is left wondering why you didn’t just send them soft copies of the speech rather than waste their time. People can read speeches for themselves, after all. That is why instead of reading a pre-written speech, it is better to write down the most important notes, and then use them as a guide to where you need to go with the address. In fact, delivering valid points without constantly checking your notes will give your audience the impression that you are very knowledgeable in the subject matter.
  • Try to maintain eye contact at all times. Choose a spot in the audience and look directly at the people within that spot for an entire sentence or thought. Don’t break eye contact until the idea gets home. Shift to another spot for the subsequent thought. Focusing on one person disconnects you from the thousands of people in the room and makes it appear like you are in face-to-face interaction with just one person.
  • Monitor your performance after every session. After you are done delivering your speech, take the event’s recordings and scrutinize your performance. Identify the areas that you need to improve on, the habits you need to discard, and the techniques you should keep in your subsequent addresses. Try using a free Sendsteps online poll afterwards to monitor your performance!
ConclusionIt is normal to feel butterflies in your stomach during your first public speaking session. Allow yourself to feel the pressure, but don’t let the pressure affect your confidence. It will only take you a couple of minutes to feel comfortable. Just brave through the opening minutes and ensure that you don’t mess up the structure of your speech. Everything will fall into place as you interact with the audience.

 

7 Tips for your next public speaking assignment

7 Tips for your next public speaking assignment

Preparing for a presentation?

Experiencing restlessness?

Everyone, no matter how talented, will experience some sort of public speaking nerves. To start with: this is a good thing. A little tension will make your mind sharp and your performance strong. Nonetheless, fear of course should never get the overhand. Here are 7 tips that will help you to manage your fears for public speaking:

  • Feel empowered by your client. Make sure to be on the same page as the person or organization who has invited you to present. What are their objectives with your presentation? And what can they tell you already about the audience [professional profile, knowledge level, culture]? You’ll feel more confident entering the speaker arena once you’ve walked through your presentation together with your client. The story of course is still yours, but it feels more as a joint production if both of you are on the same page and if you experience the trust of the hosting organization.
  • Connect to the audience prior to your presentation. Getting familiar with your audience will help you to take away some of the fears. Often during events, everyone’s a little excited: new people, having to properly represent your organization, new people and topics to relate to. Keep in mind that you’re not the only one who is a little tensed. Be on time and mingle with the attendees. Or even welcome the audience in person as soon as they enter the venue. The click you will make, will make you feel more at ease.
  • Entering your stage. Prior to the actual presentation, get yourself familiar with the room and your presentation stage. Are there aisles that you like to make use of to interact with the audience and if so, are they easily accessible? Also make sure there’s water present to prevent a dry mouth [often happening when you experience tension]. When all feels familiar and all is set, then it is time to enter the stage;
    Upon entering the live stage, take a minute to look into your audience rather than talking straight away. This might feel funny to yourself, but it is actually a powerful silence that also your audience will appreciate!
  • Be present in your body. The more grounded you feel, the more calm you’ll feel. Two things that you can be aware of are your breathing and your posture: most of us breathe from their chest [creating pressure on your vocal strings], whereas breathing from your belly will relax many of the upper body muscles. As an exercise prior to your performance: inhale three times, hold your breath for a short moment and exhale through your nose.
    Being aware of your posture means standing up straight, but without locking your knees. As an experiment try to stand with your knees locked and then relax. Do you feel the difference? Great, now you’re already more conscious! If your hands go everywhere because of the stress, then try holding speaker cards or an iPad. And finally, make sure your head is loose and flexible on your neck: not glued to it.
  • Ask a question. Kick off your presentation by asking the audience a question. Let attendees discuss in pairs and meanwhile experience some time to further get used to your speaker role. Briefly discuss outcomes and notice that your audience isn’t as scary as you might have expected. Next to live input, you can also ask a question through Sendsteps whereby attendees respond via their smartphones. In a glance you understand how a complete audience relates to a specific topic or statement!
  • Write clever speaker cards. Speaker cards don’t carry entire sentences. They only have bullet points: once you see them, you know what to address. Remember: you’re the expert! Writing entire sentences will only confuse you. Carry a watch or set a timer and write per item the available time, to prevent the stress of time pressure. The speaker cards, either written on paper or typed on your tablet, will give you a sense of control.
  • Practice, practice, practice! As with most things, the more often you do something, the easier it gets. Practice your presentation at home: in front of a mirror, a friend or tape it with your smartphone and watch it back. Also, find something to celebrate once your presentation is over and you did a magnificent job!
ImportantSee which of these ingredients might work for you. Incorporate them in your preparation and see how, step by step, you’re getting better at it. Be patient with yourself and also try to enjoy your minutes of fame. Good luck!

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!


 

7 Tips for organizing year-round events

7 Tips for organizing year-round events

  • Multiple events a year.
  • Several goals to achieve.
  • How do all of your events make sense in the bigger picture of your organization?

When organizing more than only the annual stakeholder event for your organization, then it can be challenging to align the several events throughout the year. The following 7 tips will help you to offer an event range that is consistent in its message and attractive to attend.

  • Get empowerment: Event managers often operate independently, but for many reasons [valid and less valid] their expertise isn’t always shared. As an event manager make sure to team up with your marketing or communication peers and get the mandate and empowerment from your management. Orchestrate this joint approach in time and benefit from a smart and powerful cooperation for all your upcoming events.
  • Set a theme: A theme, carefully chosen, carries a [brand] promise. It knows to trigger people. Take the time with your team to formulate a theme in which your stakeholders recognize themselves. A strong theme will make onward choices for your events much easier to make: from speakers to venues, every choice now comes from a clear vision.
  • Built in throwback moments: Upon the start of your event, make sure to look back. Give the audience a quick overview of previous event outcomes. Maybe even show a little video impression. It helps repeat attendees to freshen up their memory and it shows new attendees how valuable the last event was [and what they have missed!].
  • Built a community – with your audience:Your speakers address the daily concerns of your attendees. By letting the audience discuss these presentations afterwards, through different dialogue formats, it creates a sense of ownership among the attendees. The presentation just heard will come to life by bringing in personal experiences and concrete examples. As such attendees can easily become enthusiastic ambassadors of your event. Imagine how much easier it is from here to ask attendees to bring a guest for any next edition?
  • Built a community – with your speakers: Invite speakers from upcoming editions for current editions. As such they can get an idea on what to expect during their contribution and they are able to already connect to the audience. You might even want to spend an alignment session with all speakers. An exclusive moment to get to know each other and hear about everyone’s different approaches to the event theme. An investment that will cost you time, but that will bring a lot too.
  • Balance content with social: Strong content is key. By adding some soft elements, a message can become even stronger. Think of a fun schoolbus to transfer attendees to and from the venue, let a pianist play music in between the presentations and have vloggers to generate interesting content during and after the event. Add surprising elements that will stick to people’s memories. The more likely it is for people to come back!
  • Evaluate: Now that your event is over, it is already time to prepare for the next one. With a joint approach of event manager, communication/marketing manager and general management, it is valuable to go over the evaluation results together. Or better, ask the audience live and onsite a number of evaluating questions [e.g. with help of Sendsteps audience response technology]. Like “do you expect to come for the next edition?”. Vulnerable maybe, but better discuss the outcomes at the spot than speculate once everyone is gone. Learn from the past edition, share it with your speakers and apply lessons learned in every new edition!
ImportantBy applying the above steps you’ll increase the chances of creating a more consistent [brand] message, getting more repeat and new attendees and end up with valuable event outcomes. Now, are you ready for your next event?

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!


6 Tips: How to start your presentation?

6 Tips: How to start your presentation?

“You never get a second chance to make a first impression”. And like it or not, this is especially true for presenting. The first minute makes attendees decide whether or not they’ll stay with you. Luckily you can be pretty much in charge… Here are 6 tips:

A powerful kick-off of your presentation – 3 don’ts:

  • Don’t 1: “Can you hear me?”. Never ask if the audience can hear you. Instead, come in on time and test the microphone and audio in advance. People are excited to hear your story, make it sparkle from the first second!
  • Don’t 2: Introduce yourself. Often speakers are introduced by a moderator. Next to that, attendees can also read your bio in the event program. Use your time cleverly and skip an extensive introduction. However, make sure to check with the moderator how you’ll be announced. Add your name to the PowerPoint slides, so that attendees can easily google you.
  • Don’t 3: Jump straight to the point. Recall your last sip of wine? Before you can enjoy your glass of wine, you need that first moment to reflect on the taste. From there the drinking becomes more enjoyable. The same goes for speakers. The first few seconds, attendees have to get used to you. Much of what you’re saying won’t be registered. Save important info for later!

A powerful kick-off of your presentation – 3 do’s:

  • Do 1: Share a personal story. What happened last weekend? Which picture can you show? Which music makes you tick? Share something personal and use it as a stepping stone to your subject. The more personal, the more people are interested.
  • Do 2: Refer to a trending topic. Is there anything going on in the news that has a relation to your subject? Make clever use of FOMO: people’s fear of missing out. “In this morning’s news I read that …” is a powerful opening line causing everyone to be all ears.
  • Do 3: Ask a question. People like to think along and share experiences. Therefore, ask them a question via Sendsteps. It is also an effective opening exercise, because attendees can also get to know each other when discussing the question together. Ask for some plenary responses. Either live, or present the digital results on the presentation screen. Use the answers as an interesting bridge to your upcoming story.

From here we wish you good luck with your smashing presentation!

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!


Event ingredient: a debate?!

Event ingredient: a debate?!

Many event professionals will tell you that “interaction” is an important ingredient for an event. A debate is one of the strongest examples of interaction. Yet, it’s often not part of an event program.

A debate can be easily organized, either with appointed speakers [e.g. subject experts] and even with the audience itself. A debate is very suitable in the context of an industry conference or for an employee meeting. It is often centered around themes that are close to people their work and hearts.

In his Dutch book “Durf te Kiezen”, meaning “dare to make choices”, author Gijs Weenink claims that a debate can be much more powerful to an organisation, than hiring a consultant: it’s quicker, it engages everyone and it’s all about arguments rather than about individuals. A debate is a good thermometer for the culture of an organisation or an industry.

How to setup a debate? | The following ingredients are important for a great debate:

  • Strong statements. A statement needs to be short, positively formulated, not open to multiple interpretation, controversial and needs to carry a suggestion for improvement.
    Some examples:
  • We need more leadership
  • We need to say “no” more often to our clients
  • Everyone is allowed to decide their own working hours
  • Attendees. Attendees can represent their own opinion or can be challenged to defend a point of view that isn’t theirs. The last case can be seen as an exercise or challenge. Are you able to see things from a different perspective? A debate can be small or big in audience size. Yet, the larger, the more complex to operate.
  • Time management. A debate only needs 10 to 15 minutes per statement. It requires attendees to be short and clear in their arguments. The facilitator makes sure that attendees don’t repeat their arguments, that quiet attendees are engaged as well and that all attendees get equal time to bring across their point of view.
  • Space and seating. During the debate attendees can be given the option to change camps. So, if arguments from the other party convince you, then you can move and change to the other side.
  • Independent facilitator. An independent facilitator is able to lead the debate in a neutral way. He or she is also able to ask better clarifying questions, which can help to bring the debate to a higher lever. The facilitator is also responsible for the time keeping.
  • An audience A debate can have an audience. A valuable element can be to first let the audience vote on the statement and to show it either before the debate starts or after. With the results the debaters can be helped to start their debate or they can be confronted with the outcome at the end of a debate.

    Alternatively there can also be a “before” and an “after” vote to see how the opinion has changed through the debate. To make it even more dynamic, you can let the audience respond live throughout the debate. Debaters are then challenged to give their utmost to influence the audience. Via Sendsteps the audience can vote [anonymously] through their smartphone.

  • Follow up A debate can be fun [with even a jury appointing the best debater!], but it is often a very constructive managerial instrument. A summary of the debate can help to discuss issues in tomorrow’s board room meeting! Or changes can be even made on the spot, straight after the debate…

So which topic is trending within your organisation?

Imagine how it can spice up your event on one hand and on the other hand will lead to concrete insights and actions too!

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!


10 tips: Employee events with an inconvenient message

10 tips: Employee events with an inconvenient message

How to deal with an employee event that is less fun? Not because of the venue or the speaker line-up, but because of an inconvenient message that has to be shared: budget cuts, poor performances or even job losses. How as an organization to prepare a storyline for such a delicate, yet important and strategic, event?

 

Here are 10 tips for those who have to bring an inconvenient message:

  • 1. Tell what it does to you. Express your sincere concern. Obvious maybe to yourself, but by putting it out in words, it helps to build rapport with your audience. Also: tell people what they don’t need to be afraid of. This way you take away possible obstacles that prevents your team from further listening.
  • 2. Underline the sense of urgency. Explain what will happen if you continue without any intervention. People need to understand the negative scenario of not stepping up.
  • 3. Check-in with your audience. Keep a constant connection with your audience. It’s easy to become too rational when you do all the explaining. Ask every now and then: “how are you?” and encourage short interaction moments.
  • 4. Get straight to the point. Don’t take too long to make your point. People are tensed and will lose you when your story becomes too extensive. Make your point loud and clear. Support every point with slides that give a compact summary.
  • 5. Round off personally. As personal and empathetic as you’ve started your presentation, make sure to round it off in a similar way. Use an inspiring poem or text: as long as it works and still is matching your management style.
  • 6. Ask for a first reaction. Use Sendsteps to answer the question “How do you feel now” and let attendees respond anonymously by selecting an answer option. The results on the presentation screen might be conclude negative sentiment, but at least it is clear, people feel heard and it’s easier to address than live reaction.
  • 7. Space for live comments. Answering live comments might be challenging, but is important to make people feel heard. Allow digital input for those employees who find it difficult to raise questions out loud. When your board compromises more members, then also invite fellow board members on stage to participate in the audience Q&A.
  • 8. Follow up with unanswered questions. Not all questions can be answered. Tell people in advance. However, also communicate 1] when and 2] how the audience can expect feedback of those questions that can’t be answered now.
  • 9. Stay for drinks. For those who like to approach you more informal, it is helpful to stay during the drinks afterwards. Being present [as a leader], is an important sign on itself already. Leave your inner circle of colleagues for what it is and mingle with as many of your team members as possible: from juniors to seniors!
  • 10. Practise and prepare. Such an important meeting requires a joint effort. You might be the messenger, but there’s a team to support you: an event professional to take care of an appropriate setting, a Head of Communications to guard the tone of voice, fellow board members to support and a moderator who takes care of time management, proper introductions and a streamlined Q&A session. Your prep mostly comes down to practise, practise and practise!

About the author

Robert DaverschotChairman | Moderator | Sidekick

Robert is a professional moderator, dialogue facilitator and sidekick and works both independently and on behalf of Sendsteps audience response system. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and has interviewed, ministers, captains of industry as well as His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With Sendsteps an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in open comments and questions to the speakers and panels on stage. As such events turn into 2.0 experiences with everyone being able to speak up!


From networking nerves to networking vibes!

From networking nerves to networking vibes!

Have you ever experienced the nerves when you go to a business event where you don’t know anyone?

85% of all the people find it challenging to network, for example: walking up to strangers, starting a chat and discuss business. This is a pity, because it prevents you from attracting new clients and business opportunities.

The Superconnector Show

Judith Smits is a Dutch entrepreneur, speaker and author. She started her career being part of the 85%. She once found networking a must, rather than something to enjoy. However, over time she developed herself as a real connector. She now helps individuals and organizations to become better at networking too. Her gained knowledge and experiences come together in “The Superconnector Show”. In it, she uses Sendsteps to give the audience more trust and fun in networking. Watch the video to get an impression of the show!

Share! Also when it is uncomfortable.

The very first open question that is raised through Sendsteps is:

“What do you find difficult about networking?”

“When you touch upon more personal themes, the use of Sendsteps is essential”, says Judith. Everyone can send their one-word response using their smartphone. The anonymous input appears live on screen. The most frequent used words will appear the biggest on screen, in a Word Cloud. As a result, attendees can share their insecurities but without the need to be addressed individually.

“What counts is the input on the screen and less the individual behind the response”. Based on the input you can start a dialogue, whereby the audience slowly opens up. “At a given moment you notice attendees experiencing the click with the theme”. People dare to share, they feel more empowered and in the end they simply have fun!

Interactive experience by using Sendsteps

The Superconnector Show has many opportunities where the audience can expand their own network [e.g. on-the-spot pitching experiences]. The icing on the cake in the show is the network quiz. The audience can respond tot he quiz questions through Sendsteps and the winner leaves with the Superconnector Award.

The Superconnector Show for your next event?

The Superconnector Show is a great kick-off for many type of events. The shows range from 30 minutes to 3 hours. By using Sendsteps, the audience gets out of their comfort zone, they connect easily with others and they’re having fun again in networking!

More info? Visit www.denetwerkshow.nl

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!


 

How to tackle loneliness in the city?

How to tackle loneliness in the city?

It’s one of these subjects that isn’t always easy to talk about: loneliness. Yet, in many countries and many cities, it is a growing problem. Also in different cities in The Netherlands. One of them, the city of Assen, organized a special meeting with both citizens and professionals representing different sectors [e.g. healthcare, education, churches, municipal authorities etc.]. About 75 people attended an interactive session, that resulted in concrete actions.

The meeting was chaired by a moderator, supported by a sidekick and fueled with a social gerontologist. The last person is a professional specialised in the process of “getting older” and in her case also specialised in loneliness prevention programs. Here’s how the meeting was setup:

An interactive session on loneliness prevention

  • Confront: Before the audience would dive into the issue, they were first asked how the theme of loneliness resonated with their own experience. The organization believed that when doing so, people would be somewhat confronted, which would help to increase engagement around the subject. People were asked to discuss the following question in pairs:
    «I know one or more people in the city that are lonely»,followed by:
    «Past month I’ve felt lonely myself»Although the organization was aware of the sensitive nature of the question, it also believed that attendees would be mature enough to decide what to share and what not. Besides, the voting was anonymous and resulted in 60% indicating that would know people that are lonely and 11% [!] indicating that they themselves felt lonely last month.

  • Educate: With an audience that was now triggered by the results and that had briefly spoken with each other, it was time to put the theme into a strong context. Social Gerontologist Willie Oldengarm spoke about different loneliness prevention programs throughout the country and the do’s and don’ts that come with it.Throughout her lively 30-minute presentation, she was every now and then interrupted by a sidekick. She collected all incoming questions that attendees could send in through Sendsteps. The sidekick would interrupt and ask clarifying questions and share interesting comments to which the speaker would then elaborate on, or whereby the moderator sought further interaction with the audience. 

  • Break: After an hour, people would spend a little break to digest all the information, talking further before heading back to the room for the last part of the session.

  • Interaction: Based on shared personal experiences, knowledge gained and social connections established, it was now a good timing to discuss the situation in the city itself. This was a talk based on statements [that attendees could vote on again], like e.g.:
    «Regularly visiting lonely people, will solve feeling lonely»,or
    «I ask lonely people what they would wish themselves»or
    «I miss a collective approach on loneliness prevention within the city»With every statement the attendees could vote, then they’d briefly talk in small groups and then a plenary discussion followed. The expert speaker and the sidekick interrupted every now and then, adding valuable remarks to the discussion.

  • Best practices and solutions: Finally the audience would send in best practices. “What, in your experience, has worked well with regards to loneliness prevention?” A number of solutions would appear on the screen: coffee mornings, language courses, buddy projects etc. The moderator would invite attendees to live elaborate on the responses, resulting in a great sharing of knowledge and experiences. Some people didn’t know about each other’s initiatives and decided on the spot to join forces from then on. In the final part of the meeting, all attendees would fill out a short questionnaire through Sendsteps. Attendees could indicate if they’d be interested in forming think groups and to volunteer in loneliness prevention projects. With a high response rate:
    • A new group of volunteers could be setup
    • New connections were made between professional organizations
    • A more coherent loneliness prevention approach could be designed
Interesting With a clever program setup, the use of anonymous feedback through Sendsteps and the concrete follow up actions, this event can be called a best practice. It is an example for other cities and communities and shows that even sensitive subjects can be discussed without people needing to leave their comfort zone too much.

What’s there for you to take away from this best practice?

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!


 

Survey Questions

Survey Questions

It’s not an easy task. Organizing an event and catering to everyone’s interests and needs. Through social media and through many offline events, most people already have seen and heard a lot. When organizing an event it is easy to put standards high, but at times it can be a challenge to execute to that level.

Yet, why organize an event alone? Your target audience consist out of different profiles: customers, employees, citizens or other types of stakeholders. What makes them tick? Once you’ve identified your event theme, it makes it much easier to involve your audience. Not on the event day itself, but already weeks ahead. Making them part of your event preparations. Engage them and get inspired!

Your audience | Before your event starts

Of course you’d like to surprise your attendees and as such not give away too much ahead of the event. Yet, there are some ingredients that are easier to explore together with your audience. Of which in doing so, will result in a stronger event proposition:

  • The theme of your event: The more in-depth you’d like to approach a theme, the easier you make it yourself by finding out what people already know about it [e.g. climate control in office spaces during an event about sustainability]. Or to figure out what their personal opinion is on matters [e.g. integrity in the banking sector during an event about business ethics].Important In advance the findings can be shared with the speakers of the event. It will give them insight in what people already know. As such they can cut in Powerpoint slides or adjust their storyline in the days ahead of the event. On the event itself it is then often a strong kick-off to hear a speaker briefly telling about what he already knows about an audience. Once informed, the speakers and their stories to share, are to a large extend aligned with the audience’s expectations.
  • The speakers of your event: Not only can you consult your audience about their opinions and knowledge level. You can also find out which speaker they’d like to hear. Either as an open question, or steered with suggestions. Let the audience maybe not decide on all speakers, but say half of them. As such you can also promote your event with your potential audience as being a “tailor-made” event!
How far would you like to go? Obviously every detail can be discussed in advance. From venue to lunch. Yet the big ingredients might be worth exploring the most. Once you get a sense of those ingredients, from there often other practicalities become clearer by themselves.

How to consult your audience?

With the survey feature of Sendsteps you can easily setup an online survey. On a webpage you can formulate different type of multiple choice- and open questions. In any amount and in any order you’d like. In either a basic branding, or in your company’s design.

Once done, you can send it out to all your [potential] attendees. Throughout the survey period you can keep track of the responses in an online dashboard. You can easily generate reports to then send to your speakers or share with your team and as such brief everybody who is involved.

Your audience | After the event

We all know the online surveys after an event took place. We’re often already busy again with other activities. Catching up emails for instance after a busy conference day. Therefore it is wise to evaluate your event on the spot. By asking your audience just a few questions before they leave the venue. Keep it short and simple:

  • On a scale from 1 [poor] to 10 [excellent], how would you rate today’s event?
  • How likely do you consider to attend next year’s edition?
  • Can you share with us at least one point for improvement?

The above questions can be pretty much applied to any event. The outcome is truly helpful in evaluating the success of the event and of course to improve any next edition!

Interesting Offering unique event experiences can be to a great extend created when involving your most important stakeholders: the audience. Turn them into co-creators. And eventually into your best ambassadors. What would you like to know from them?

Please let us know if you need any assistance with the setup and execution of your Sendsteps Survey! We’re there to give you some inspiration and to help you with getting your survey out!

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!