Barclays tested an interesting interactive feature at its financial services conference in New York this week.
The U.K. investment bank polled audience members at the end of executive presentations, inviting attendees to provide feedback using keypads at their seats.
For instance, attendees were asked where Capital Bank Financial (CBF) in Coral Gables, Fla., should focus its resources; nearly half voted for acquisitions. Four out of five participants also predicted that Capital would emerge as an acquirer, rather than a seller, in coming years. A third suggested that the company's goal of reaching a 1% return on assets was the main reason to invest.
While informative, the polling created awkward breaks in the action. Barclays had smooth jazz, piano-bar instrumentals and other musical selections cranked in to pass the time. Attendees, and even those listening online, made cracks all week about the interludes.
"Does someone have a trademark on the Jeopardy music?" asked Rene Jones, the chief financial officer of M&T Bank (MTB).
Still, the process won over Eugene Taylor, the chief executive of Capital Bank. "This is the first time that we felt we have been judged automatically," Taylor said.
Then again, Taylor may have simply liked the results of the polling. The voting "validated" Capital's strategy, Taylor said. "Every single answer is [consistent with] what we are trying to achieve."