How Phones Can Improve and Ruin an Experience

In older movies, the plot often builds to a moment where the male lead is running to his female costar to reveal a big piece of news (sometimes known as the “RomCom Run”). The result is a dramatic grand gesture that leads to the woman swooning and an incredibly tightlipped kiss.

Nowadays, the scene is a little different. Imagine: the male lead opens his phone and checks Snapchat to find out her real-time geotagged location. But does he still go to her? It’d be easier to send a text or a chat. What if her social media accounts show that she’s with another guy? Maybe the relationship dies. The story becomes less romantic and more focused on cyberstalking.

Smartphones, for all the good they do, have taken away the magic of a moment.

Look around the next time you’re at a restaurant. How many larger parties are sitting at a big table surrounded by friends, silently flipping through their phones?  What could be a night of catching up and connecting has dissolved into an opportunity to show the world what a fun experience you appear to be having.

The line has blurred between rude and normal. Pulling your phone out at the dinner table used to be taboo, now it can add to the conversation or create a silent table.  At what point do phones diminish your experience, rather than enhance it?

Planning Moments With and Without Phones

Events are all about the experience. Planners want to create something special that will resonate for years to come. They hope to create a moment.

Increasingly, planners look to include phone use during events. Mobile event apps can add a great deal of value, in terms of informing attendees about program changes and increasing excitement about different sessions. Phones can provide data that leads to greater event insights that help to improve your event. Phones also offer a gateway to content that isn’t event-centric. It can lead to decreased focused during key speeches or performances.

What if, instead of increasing the use of phones at events, you create planned moments where technology is encouraged to capture the event,  others where phones aren’t allowed to encourage an undistracted experience? At photo booths and step and repeats, encourage photos to be taken and shared on social media. At exclusive performances, take phones away so they don’t detract from the experience.

Create a lasting moment. Don’t be afraid to take phones away. Products like YONDR can help keep phones out of use at important moments. Think of it as a new strategy to enhance the attendee experience. Without phones, people are inspired to interact and take in the experience free of distraction. Schedule a day that has blocks of time where phone use is not only expected, but encouraged, and times where attendees are forced to go dark.

Don’t let a beautifully planned moment fall on distracted eyes and ears. Look at phones as a tool that can make an event more impactful, but recognize that in this highly connected digital world, some experiences are made even better by a moment of disconnection from the rest of the world.

Read More: Attendees Remember Experiences Not Meetings

Madison Layman

Written by Madison Layman

A graduate of the College of William and Mary, my passion for writing began before I could read, with a nightly verbal diary dictation transcribed by my obliging parents. Since then, my word count has hit the millions and won't stop growing anytime soon. When I'm not writing or reading, you can find me binge-watching tv shows, baking elaborate desserts, and memorizing pop culture facts.