- Use case
- Corporate learning & development
Poll Everywhere has definitely had an impact within our company. People love it and it’s changed the way we lead our meetings.
Melissa O’Blenis, Project Delivery Manager at interRel, has brought Poll Everywhere activities into both in-person and virtual client meetings to promote meaningful participation. “It’s certainly been a blessing to have it remotely so we can gauge feedback and engagement levels.”
Implementing Poll Everywhere
At interRel, Melissa manages project implementation with teams of various sizes. “Before the pandemic, we would travel quite often to client sites to implement Oracle EPM solutions. We're now basically 100% remote until travel restrictions ease.”
Melissa first discovered Poll Everywhere about five years ago while working as a Technical Trainer at the University of New Hampshire. “At the time, I was presenting to large groups of people and was looking for a way to limit distractions and get the audience’s focus. I searched online and Poll Everywhere came up, so I ran a beta test with my team. They loved it and we decided to roll it out.”
Since then, Melissa has taken Poll Everywhere to nearly every position she’s held. “It’s such a great way to get the team engaged and not multitasking, especially now that we’re remote. We find that it’s a good way to measure engagement too. Not too long ago, we had very little interaction with our questions, so that gave us insight into where we needed to pivot to bring it back up again in subsequent meetings. The metrics work for us and impact what we’re doing.”
Melissa uses the Poll Everywhere app for PowerPoint to embed live activities throughout her teams’ decks.
The app is seamless for us. I've used it at kickoffs, team celebrations, town hall meetings, full prototype demonstrations of our application, and other presentations.
Adding engagement at every step
Incorporating a variety of live activity types, Melissa keeps participants engaged from the very start. “We always start with an icebreaker, which is usually a word cloud because it presents nicely and people respond to it. Participants especially love adding emojis, so I’m really glad Poll Everywhere has that functionality. I’ve also used a clickable image activity with the mood scale to break the ice.”
Next, Melissa will use a combination of Q&A, multiple choice, and open-ended activities at key points of the presentation. “We’ve used Poll Everywhere to document ground rules for meetings. With the Q&A activity, we can have the audience submit responses and then upvote or downvote each other’s answers. We also ask a lot of multiple choice questions to see if the material makes sense, and use open-ended questions from a program governance standpoint, like ‘What does success look like for you?’ or ‘How can we fail at this project?’”
After the session, Melissa distributes a Survey to gather feedback. “I find them to be effortless. We ask questions about the session, like what we can do differently, what their biggest takeaway was, and whether their view on the application we built has changed.”
Melissa will then consolidate all the data and report on it.
I'll deliver the feedback to team members and stakeholders, and insert screenshots of the activity results in the PowerPoint deck. That way, when someone opens it they'll actually see the question we asked live.
Adapting to a remote world
As many have probably experienced, Melissa transitioned a client project that was originally in person to a remote environment. “For all of January and February, we were on site at three different locations and Poll Everywhere was a good way to bring all of them together. One of our project guidelines was to build consensus and a sense of unity, so Poll Everywhere was one way to gauge that we were on track and that each location had an equal voice.”
After they went fully remote, Melissa’s team brought more focus onto live engagement. “We made more of a conscious effort to include the audience in most of our milestones or big presentations. The amount of interaction we’re adding is a standard question now.”
The differences between in-person and virtual were clear. “Because it’s so easy to get distracted when working remotely, we’ve had to adjust our messaging in advance of client meetings. We told participants we were expecting engagement and had the project sponsor on the client side encourage them a bit more for their feedback. Participation became a larger part of our strategy rather than just bringing up the instructions slide in the moment.”
Throughout the transition, Poll Everywhere has stayed at the forefront for Melissa and team. “Poll Everywhere gives us so many more options than the native functionality in videoconferencing platforms. I continue to advocate for it because it presents better and gives us more flexibility.”
Melissa is looking forward to introducing Poll Everywhere on a larger scale at a user training with over three hundred participants. “Many of them will be new to the software so we’ll be setting expectations in advance.”
When we first kicked off this project and started using Poll Everywhere with the client, we received such positive feedback that it bubbled up to leadership within my company and they asked me to lead a ‘brain expansion’ on the software. The session was open to the whole company so they can sit in while you demo the tool. Almost everyone attended and now several people are using it on their projects. We love it.