In recent years, mobile apps for events are slowly becoming the ubiquitous go-to digital accompaniment to some of the live events ever held. They are the most efficient means of disseminating information and connecting with your attendees. They are also essential if you want to be relevant in the event space. But do they distract attendees and pull focus away from your event?

If so, how do you keep attendees off their phones during presentations?

The truth is – you can’t.

Consider when the last time was you went out for dinner with friends and the table wasn’t littered with a cacophony of cell phones. In the always-connected era that we live in, the concept of being detached from the digital world is completely alien to us. For most people, turning their phones off at best translates to switching them to silent.

Expecting attendees to stay off their phones for the duration of your event is unrealistic and frankly impossible to impose. Keeping attendees off their phones is also not the answer. Incessant mobile usage is not a behaviour you can change but it is a behaviour you can harness and use to your advantage. And that’s exactly what your event app will do.

Take society’s smartphone fixation and use it to enhance event engagement.

For a start, a social channel for all attendees. Organisers and attendees alike can post comments and pictures to the feed and scroll through it whenever they wish to see real-time updates right in the palm of their hands.

Utilise features such as Q&A, Live Polling, Session and Event Feedback, and Push Notifications to ensure that when attendees look at their phones they are engaging with your event rather than stalking friends on facebook. Mobile Event Apps are geared at improving user involvement and incorporating one will actually enhance attendee engagement with speakers and your event.

Accept it, our lives are completely mobile and the connected-consumer isn’t going anywhere. And it’s OK because the truth is; reaching attendees on their phones is the easiest and most effective way to engage them. These devices are extremely useful tools, so don’t dread them; use them! Don’t worry about Event Apps stealing focus- embrace the reality that people are always connected to their phones and choose to meet them there. Build an app and engage your attendees both on stage and in the palm of their hands. That way your product is what they are distracted by… but advantageously distracted in a way that means they are getting much more out of the event experience than ever before.

It’s clear- engaging your audience on their devices is no longer optional. So if your concern is “Will my Event App distract attendees?” the realisation should be that the right distraction will actually greatly enhance your event.