The Psychology of Technology

What Technology is Absolutely Essential to the Success of your Event?

How many times have you spent hours poring over a budget trying to figure out where you can cut dollars, and deciding what technology is absolutely essential to the success of your event?

Is this your audience?

Now imagine that everything you do in the room has an effect on the people in the room. Which of those technologies are most important to you and your audience?

The Psychology of Technology is a multi-part series aimed at helping you understand the psychological effect that different technologies have on the audience.  The design of your event can help the audience engage with the presentations, presenters and message.  While we can’t always afford to use every tactic available, understanding these effects may help you to determine where your dollars are best spent.

So, let’s start this series discussing the most common technology we use when presenting information… the video screen. Be it a projector and screen or a 50” monitor, visual content is king.  The way you choose to show that content can sway your audience’s perception of the materials.

So, I’ll start this conversation by asking a question: What type of television do you own?

Do you own a 27” Zenith tube television? A sturdy, rugged television that has worked flawlessly for the past 15 years providing a glorious 4:3 aspect picture?  A television that fits perfectly into the custom oak entertainment center that you paid way too much for in 1999?  A television that gets the job done?

OR…are you like the vast majority of avid television viewers that own AT LEAST one wide screen HDTV?  A 16:9 formatted beauty?  A television that shows glorious sporting events and cop dramas in seemingly endless wide angle panorama?

Most likely, you are the latter and so are the people in your audience.  While our presenters continue to be comfortable in the world of PowerPoint, (which, for some reason continues to default to the 4:3 aspect design even though 16:9 has been available for years), our audiences are more sophisticated than that.

Old technology = old news for your audience

Imagine for a moment that your main presenter walks in and begins their discussion about the newest discoveries in space, while showing his notes on an overhead projector.  What would you think?  No matter how current the content, you would think that the information was old.  When you share your visual presentation in an antiquated format, it is perceived as old.  4:3 is an antiquated format.  People have wide screens at home.  They expect content that is also wide screen when they attend your event.  If your content is not wide screen, they perceive it as old.  Of course, it won’t be long before the wide screen will also need to be High Definition…but you still have some time before that happens.

While bringing our presenters into the current format may seem like a daunting task, you do have the ability to get them there slowly.  Most systems today will allow you to provide a wide screen “canvas”, even if the content continues to be 4:3.  Just like at home, the presentation will be pillared.  The more your presenters see their content not filling the screen, the more they will investigate what needs to be done to remedy this issue.  They may even ask you to provide them with a template!

Yes, it is a major change in their world, but simply explain to them that this new format allows them to share even MORE of their wisdom with the audience.  That should help.

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