- Use case
- Corporate learning & development
Poll Everywhere makes participants feel that they're not just going to sit through a PowerPoint presentation, they’re actually going to participate as part of what I have to share.
Jonathan Rees, who runs Training and Coaching company Making Teams Work and is an international speaker and author of The Resilience Toolkit, discovered Poll Everywhere when converting his workshops to fit a virtual setting on just a few days’ notice. “With lockdown, I had to go from front-of-room training and face-to-face coaching to completely online very quickly. One of the first things I needed to do was work out a way to make it really interactive.”
Customizing the participant experience
Jonathan realized very early on that the built-in polling functionality on his video conferencing solution didn’t allow participants to see the results, so he set out to find an alternative. That’s when a friend referred Jonathan to Poll Everywhere after using it in his own workplace. After a quick search, Jonathan found that he could create an account for free and try it out in smaller sessions. “I really liked the way it was simple to use: lots of variety in terms of style of questions and methods of presenting information.”
For Jonathan, the participant experience is critical. “When you're running something interactive, it's really important that something actually happens on the screen. I love that I can present a Poll Everywhere activity and everyone can see things happening in real time.”
Jonathan opens his presentations with a Q&A activity related to the topic, whether that’s about working from home effectively, leading remote teams, or managing stress well. That way, participants have the chance to share their thoughts and interact with each other by upvoting or downvoting one another’s submissions.
Poll Everywhere activities replace writing answers on flip charts or arranging post-it notes. This way, not only do people submit whatever they want on their own, but they see what other people are saying. You get a prioritized list and are able to choose the top-voted results quickly.
Promoting interactive conversations
Throughout the rest of his slide decks, Jonathan also embeds multiple choice activities as pulse checks and rankings on a scale to see where the audience stands on the topic. “I use the results to drive the discussion by asking participants to unmute and clarify their responses. It helps me to be more conversational with people.” If it’s a longer session, he’ll conclude by collecting feedback at the very end with a live Survey. By exporting results to a CSV file, he can then analyze overarching trends across sessions. “Effectively what I'm doing is uncovering information that helps me finetune what I'm going to deliver. It makes it really interactive.”
Using the Poll Everywhere desktop app, Jonathan can build interactive activities directly within his Keynote presentations. “I love it because I don't have to go to the website to do anything now. The desktop app does everything I need it to, and more.”
Jonathan is always trying out new features within Poll Everywhere. For example, “I discovered last week, to my amazement and delight, that in Keynote I can alter the way the results are displayed while presenting. I think from a participant's perspective, this looks like magic.” Whenever he has questions, he has the support team’s contact information readily available. “What really blew me away when I did need help was that I got really good support really quickly.”
After using Poll Everywhere heavily over the last several months, Jonathan’s advice is to start small with an engaging activity as soon as possible. “The first five minutes of any presentation or workshop are crucial. If you spend them talking about how wonderful you are and promoting your organization and accomplishments, people will get bored and switch off. They’re there to learn. If you present an interactive question at the start, participants will understand that you're actually going to listen and involve them.”
When I go back to face-to-face with hundreds of attendees, I’ll still use Poll Everywhere. That way, everybody in the room has an opportunity to do something with the device they probably already have in their hands.