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Associations Now

Idea Bank: Scan to Engage

ASSOCIATIONS NOW, November 2012 Money & Business

By: Rob Stott

Summary: Using QR codes to connect speakers and meeting attendees.

What's the great idea? Use quick reference (QR) codes on attendee name badges to encourage engagement and interaction with speakers.

Who's doing it? The New England Law Library Consortium

What's involved? At a recent symposium, NELLCO placed QR codes on the back of its attendees' name badges with two purposes in mind.

"First, we wanted to use QR codes to give attendees a feel for how easy they are to use," says Tracy Thompson-Przylucki, NELLCO's executive director. "Second, we wanted to provide an opportunity for the attendees and the speakers to connect." When scanned, the attendee would be informed if he or she had won a prize, a free copy of the speaker's book.

"We instructed registrants that they could take their nametags to the author's signing area we had established, and one of our speakers … would scan their codes and let them know if they had won," says Thompson-Przylucki. Attendees lined up during program breaks to see if they were wearing a winner. And even if not, they still had the opportunity to purchase the book and talk with the speaker.

What are people saying? The QR-studded name badges received a warm reception.

"It was just a fun way to connect the participants to this particular author and speaker and engage the audience," says Thompson-Przylucki. "Even though the speaker was more than enthusiastic about sharing their knowledge, expertise, and time, the QR codes provided that little extra nudge to get them face to face."

Rob Stott is editorial assistant at Associations Now in Washington, DC. Email:

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