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October 28, 2009

Interactivity and sustainability key to public sector event professionals

Civil servants working for UK government departments, agencies and quangos are committed to the use of audience engagement technologies to gain delegate feedback, and are on a mission to reduce event carbon emissions, according to a recent poll.
The research was commissioned at Civil Service Live, the annual UK event for government department employees organised, in partnership with Civil Service World and the Cabinet Office. It highlights that 84% of respondents rate the use of audience engagement at events as very or quite important to gain live delegate feedback.

The main advantages that touch-pad voting systems provide were cited as generating better and quicker response rates (21%), encouraging a greater feeling of involvement for delegates (17%) and being more engaging than paper based questionnaires (22%).
Promoting sustainable working practices and reducing carbon emissions are also a priority for civil servants in their day-to-day roles. Nearly half (49%) of the respondents stated it is a high priority, with a further 38% setting it as a medium-term objective.
“Audience engagement tools enable immediate feedback, giving a far more accurate picture of what delegates are feeling in real time,” said Geoff Merchant, head of the Corporate Events Team at National School of Government. 

“Particularly for large scale events, you can’t expect people to fill in lengthy forms. Opinions are most successfully gathered while an event is in full swing.

“Green event technologies, such as videoconferencing, are also rising in popularity, as they offer numerous sustainable benefits, plus are a better option in terms of public expenditure.”
Commenting on the findings, Toby Lewis, managing director of audience engagement specialist The Live Group, said: “This survey illustrates that audience engagement technology is widely used in public sector events to gain delegate feedback and engage audiences. Considering the technology is relatively new, it shows great innovation adoption by what is sometimes perceived as a traditional sector.
“The use of web to power meetings and video-conferences are gaining momentum in the public sector in a bid to meet government carbon-reduction targets. It is inevitable that UK plc will follow in this quest for sustainable event dialogue especially in light of growing commercial carbon emission legislation.”

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