I was introduced to live polling in my first year of university during Psychology 101. Sitting in a lecture hall with 300 people, I responded to questions the professor put to the class by answering on a small remote, which immediately registered my response along with everyone else’s on a screen at the front of the hall. Polling was a quick way to engage us, and it encouraged us to pay attention. It’s a two-way street, too: He often used the data collected on the spot to better tailor his content to the class and address things that were most relevant to us. It was a win-win.
The lecture hall and event space aren’t too distant from one another, and real-time polling can help planners address the challenges my professor faced: maintaining engagement, getting feedback and creating relevant content. It’s a tool that allows planners to enhance their events through engagement and customization, all while gathering valuable data to use at the next one.
Even better, incorporating live polling into events is easier than ever. Instead of clunky remotes, attendees can have access to polls directly on their smartphones via an event app. It’s a flexible tool that’s easily incorporated into a variety of events, so don’t shy away from it; embrace it.
Create Engagement and Interaction
Attention spans aren’t what they used to be, leaving event planners scrambling to find new ways to captivate audiences. Games perk just about everyone up, though, so ask the audience to participate through their mobile devices and make it a competition to see who gets the most correct answers. It’ll boost interaction with your polls, which will make attendees feel like they are contributing toward and building their own experiences. They want to be part of something greater; engaging them through polls is a great way to accomplish that.
Gather Attendee Data and Feedback
If you often struggle to receive valuable survey post-event feedback, why not get it on the spot? Surveying attendees live will both increase the number of responses and get the most accurate responses since everything is still fresh in their minds. Also, you can ask a variety of additional questions on the live polling app that are relevant for future reference, such as attendee demographics and their interests.
What if, immediately after a session, you asked your audience what topic they would like to hear more about, and then spent the final block of time addressing that particular topic?What if you asked your attendees to rate their favourite speakers and vote on who does an encore performance?What if the answers you gather from live polling allow you to adapt your content and personalize it so it’s valuable and relevant to your attendees? This is where attendees will really see their return on investment. By having them influence the content, you make attendees feel valued and ensure they are the designing their own experience.
Real-time polling is a tool in which event planners, speakers and sponsorship and marketing teams — really anyone involved in a successful even — can use to their greatest advantage. The most important piece is knowing when and where to incorporate it, as well as what to do with the information collected. The true value is not just using the information for a single purpose, but using it beyond its capabilities to create a greater impact and take your events to the next level.