AUDIENCE POLLING AT CONFERENCES – A Guide for Conference Organisers

Audience polling is a great way to drive effective audience engagement at conferences, and enhances the opportunity for information exchange between a speaker and the audience. Running a poll with an audience for the first time can be a daunting experience, for both you as the conference organiser and your speaker -especially if your audience size is large.

Preparation is essential to implementing a successful audience poll.

This guide will help you understand how to work in partnership your speakers to get the maximum engagement from your audience and avoid common pitfalls, making your conference a memorable event that stands out from the crowd.

Figure 1: Steps To Successful Audience Polling At Conferences

1. Define Presentation Objectives

Organise a briefing with the speaker whose session with involve the use of audience polling. Take the time to understand and be aligned on what the speaker’s objectives are. What are they aiming to achieve? What do they want the audience to do following their session/presentation?

Work together to identify opportunities to use polling to achieve the set objectives within the content/slides.Your objective is to have the speaker finalise their presentation and polling questions prior to the conference.

Hence this meeting should take place several weeks/months before the conference to kick-start the process. If you have a conference moderator or chairperson, involving them in this stage is also beneficial.

2. Create Your Polling Questions

If your speaker is using audience polling for the first time, consider these points when creating the polling questions that will be used:

  • Take into consideration the time allocated for the session and the content being covered. Audience polling should be an enhancement to your presentation, hence do not overload the presentation with polls so it becomes a distraction.
  • Keep the questions simple and relevant.
  • Consider language proficiency if your audience is international.
  • Use simple language. It should be very clear to the audience what they need to do to vote.

3. Technical Considerations

Prior to the conference, check the hardware and software set up available at the venue, and ensure you have met the requirements in Figure 2. If there is a conference APP being used, make the poll accessible via the APP.

ParticiPoll polling operates from a low bandwith website, and is able to cope with up to 2000 concurrent connections. Plan to run a “test poll” at the venue to check everything is working.

Figure 2: Software And Hardware Requirements For Audience Polling With ParticiPoll

4. Brand Your Poll

With ParticiPoll, you can upload your unique conference/organisation logo, and change your voting URL to reflect the event. Login to My Account > Customise at www.ParticiPoll.com to add customisations.

5. Manage Your Audience

The more audience members that participate at your conference, the more likely the message/learning objectives will be met, the more likely the session with be a success and the more memorable the experience will be.

To increase audience participation levels, tell them to bring their mobile devices so that they can take part in the polling session (have this information in the conference programme and communications prior to the event). Make it something they look forward to!

At the conference, have a placeholder slide on the screen notifying the audience that an interactive session will be taking place (Figure 3). Provide them with your branded URL and QR Code. If the audience is accessing the poll through a conference APP – ensure they have downloaded the latest conference APP.

Emphasising the poll is anonymous can also help drive participation. If you have a conference moderator or chairperson, involving them in this stage is also beneficial.

 

Figure 3: A Placeholder Slide To Help Drive Audience Participation

6. Run an Ice-Breaker Poll

To ensure you have the audience ready and online to participate, have the speaker run an icebreaker poll, to familiarize audience with the polling software. This can be based on anything of interest and appropriate to build up the anticipation for an effective session.

From this poll, the speaker can establish how many audience members are participating and nudge them further to drive up the numbers to the maximum.

7. Presentation with Live Polling

With everything in place your speaker can start the session and invite the audience to participate. If your audience is participating in a live polling session for the first time, they naturally are curious to see how it works.

When voting starts and the answers begin recording on the screen, the audience excitement begins as they watch the evolving pattern of responses on the screen. Your audience is now engaged!

8. Share Your Experience

Discuss with your speaker ways in which you can share the outcome of your polling session. Remember your audience can become ambassadors for your conference and the content being shared. Sharing results or their experience of the session on social media for instance can earn your conference important earned media.

Ending the presentation and session with a slide reminding the audience to tweet or post their experiences, and provide relevant hashtags (Figure 4).

Figure 4: Example Slide At The End Of The Session Can Help Drive Earned Media For Your Content/Conference

You can also take photos/videos of your audience polling sessions and share this interactive element of your conference with others. At ParticiPoll we are always excited to hear about your experiences with audience polling, so keep us posted! #ParticiPoll

AUDIENCE POLLING AT MEETINGS AND CONFERENCES – A Guide For Speakers

Audience polling is a great way to drive effective audience engagement at conferences, and enhances the opportunity for information exchange between you, the speaker and your audience. Running a poll with an audience for the first time can be a daunting experience, especially if your audience size is large.

Preparation is essential to implementing a successful audience poll. If you are presenting on behalf of a client or at a conference, work in partnership with your client representative or conference organiser at each step of the process.

This guide will help you get the maximum engagement from your audience and avoid common pitfalls, making your presentation a memorable event that stands out from the crowd.

Figure 1: Steps To Successful Audience Polling

1. Define Presentation Objectives

Define the objectives for your presentation/session. What are you aiming to achieve? What do you want the audience to do following the presentation? Identify opportunities to use polling to achieve the set objectives within the content/slides.

2. Create Polling Questions

Your polling questions should be finalised prior to your conference or meeting. Consider these points when creating polling questions:

  • Consider the time allocated for the session and the content being covered.
  • Audience polling should be an enhancement to your presentation, hence do not overload the presentation with polls so it becomes a distraction.
  • Keep the questions simple and relevant.
  • Use images, videos and graphics where applicable.
  • If you are testing knowledge, follow each polling question slide with additional slide(s) highlighting the content that supports the answer for each question. Hence if the content needs to be revisited you can use these slides or skip over them accordingly.
  • Consider language proficiency if your audience is international.
  • Use simple language. It should be very clear to the audience what they need to do to vote.

3. Technical Considerations

Prior to the conference, check the hardware and software set up available at the venue, and ensure you have met the requirements in Figure 2. ParticiPoll polling operates from a low bandwith website, and is able to cope with up to 2000 concurrent connections. On the day, run a “test poll” at the venue to check everything is working.

Figure 2: Software And Hardware Requirements For Audience Polling With ParticiPoll

4. Brand Your Poll

With ParticiPoll, you can upload your organisation logo, and change your voting URL to reflect the event. Login to My Account > Customise at www.ParticiPoll.com to add your customisations.

5. Manage Your Audience

The more audience members that participate, the more likely the message/learning objectives will be met, the more likely the session with be a success and the more memorable the experience will be. To increase audience participation, tell them to bring their mobile devices (charged and ready) so that they can take part in the polling session (have this information in your communications prior to the event). Make it something they look forward to!

At the event, have a placeholder slide on the screen notifying the audience that an interactive session will be taking place (Figure 3). Provide them with your branded URL and QR Code. Emphasising the poll is anonymous can also help drive participation.

 

Figure 3: A Placeholder Slide To Help Drive Audience Participation

6. Run An Ice-Breaker Poll

To ensure you have the audience ready and online to participate, run an icebreaker poll, to familiarize your audience with the polling software. This can be based on anything of interest and appropriate to build up the anticipation for an effective session. From this poll, you can establish how many audience members are participating and nudge them further to drive up the numbers to the maximum.

7. Presentation With Live Polling

With everything in place you should now be ready to start the session and invite your audience to participate. Remind your audience they are working together with you, and they co-own the session with you. If your audience is participating in a live polling session for the first time, they naturally are curious to see how it works.

When voting starts and the answers begin recording on the screen, the audience excitement begins as they watch the evolving pattern of responses on the screen. Your audience is now engaged!

8. Share Your Experience

You may wish to share the outcome of your polling session. If you are presenting at a conference or on behalf of a client, consult with the conference organisers, or client representative to discuss this. Remember your audience can become ambassadors for the content you are sharing, and are a vehicle for sharing the message further.

Sharing results or their experience of the session on social media for instance can ensure your message can live long after your presentation is over and gain you important earned media. Ending the presentation and session with a slide reminding the audience to tweet or post their experiences, and provide relevant hashtags (Figure 4).

 

Figure 4: Example Slide At The End Of The Session Can Help Drive Earned Media For Your Content/Subject

Arrange for photos/videos to be taken of your audience polling sessions and share this interactive element with others. At ParticiPoll we are always excited to hear about your experiences with audience polling, so keep us posted! #ParticiPoll