Live Polling Your Audience

I recently read an article by Dan Schwabel entitled “How Millennials See Meetings Differently.” In this article, he highlights ways to better engage this generation (born between 1980 and 2000) in meetings. Schwabel says, “While older
professionals seek the traditional meeting
model, millennials are looking
for something more interactive. Instead of a speaker giving a
presentation for an hour, they
would rather have the majority
of that hour be Q&A. This is a
generation that wants to be heard
and have conversations instead
of listening to a presentation
straight through.”

Schwabel suggests incorporating live polling as a way to actively engage this younger generation. He says, “73% of millennials are interested in being part of live polls during event sessions. They are eager to have their votes count and to be part of presentations in any way they can, even though they are merely a participant.”

So, what is live polling, and how does it work?

A poll is a question or prompt you want your audience to interact with. Live polling means it is done in real-time. Though different companies have different methods for presenting the data collected, most of them allow voting and responses through Twitter, text and/or a website with login information specific to your event. Thus, it is important for your event location to have free Wi-Fi available (another expectation Schwabel shares of the millennial generation).

According to SMS Poll, a web-based polling company, there are very specific benefits to live polling:

  • Find out what your audience is thinking at any moment in time.
  • Grab your audience’s attention by starting your presentation with a thought-provoking question.
  • Actively involve your audience in the presentation – keep them engaged and interested in what you have to say.
  • Increase audience participation through anonymous responses.
  • Allow the crowd to provide instant presenter feedback.
  • Wow your audience with animated charts that update in real-time.

With most web-based polling companies, there are different pricing structures based on number of questions asked, number of participants and how the results are processed. By researching various companies, you can choose the polling program best suited for your event. Here are a few you could start with: SMS Poll, Poll Everywhere, Audience Opinion and AnswerQwik.