Interactive tools to collect audience feedback at conferences

Gathering feedback from your audience and engaging them is a key success factor for conferences. In the old days, we used to do that during the Q+A session, and maybe with hand signs or the famous green and red cards, but there are so much more sophisticated tools now. I had the chance to try out some of them at the recent Confex exhibition in London.


This UK-based company offers a variety of tools and operates on a worldwide level. IML Click collects feedback for surveys, IML Communicator allows voting, texting and it has an in-built microphone for q+a. The IML Connector looks a bit like a Blackberry, it has all the above features plus a built-in speaker and headset connection to transmit all your translation channels. Pretty cool, but not cheap, really.

Crystal Interactive

Crystal interactive offer tablet-based solutions for sharing ideas, questions and comments in real time. The Crystal response keypad is a lot simpler and allows votings. Crystal Mobile gathers audience feedback via a mobile-optimized web browser interface.


This is a tool by the German AV company Gahrens and Battermann, working on iPods and iPads that they rent out. It has a number of branding capabilities, so that you can include your sponsors’ messages on it.


Qwizdom’s devices are used for education as well as corporate purposes. They claim to get very high response rates when implementing the audience response system at conferences.


Originating from France, this company now has offices in the US and around Western Europe. They offer voting devices as well as a mobile phone conference texting solution called asQ-us.


…is a mobile interaction software that, unlike the tools above, does not require special tools or gadgets to collect feedback. It is integrated in Powerpoint and collects feedback via text messaging, Internet or Twitter.  The Dutch company has clients like Vodafone or Philips and offers various price models depending on usage.


Depending on your target audience, you can bet to have quite a number of fervent tweeps in your room.  Include a twitter wall in the room, and a monitor on stage for the facilitator and speakers to be able to respond immediately. Communicate your hashtag at an early stage and motivate people to participate. You will have to live with negative comments, too, but according to a recent study, these are rare cases. To set up a twitterwall nice and easy, try using visibletweets or Twitterfountain.

What kind of devices are you using? What are your experiences?

6 thoughts on “Interactive tools to collect audience feedback at conferences

  1. Hi Chris,

    Nice summary of technollogy / possibilities. At the time of writing your article (March 2011) my system/ .com startup was not available. But now it is. It’s called YEL – Your Emotion Live.
    It combines social TV / Audience feedback and classroom rating. Live poll, open system, API availabel. All HTML5 (but native apps are on schedule).
    Maybe you can add / update this article with YEL included?
    You can try it yourself in ‘one click’
    Or the website

    Vincent van Witteloostuyn
    The Netherlands
    @yeltv on twitter
    and many more😉


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