If you want to know what your attendees or potential attendees are thinking, the best thing to do is to ask them. Surveys and audience-response systems are tried-and-true ways to unearth opinions, but here’s another: Synthetron, a remarkable tool for large-group virtual brainstorming. Here’s how Synthetron works. Attendees log onto a Web site for a one-hour discussion and are presented with a screen like the one below. On the left side of the interface, organizers present a question, and ...

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