Fostering productive conversations

Fostering productive conversations
State Alliance of Michigan YMCAs
Use case
Team meetings

Poll Everywhere has a richness of features, flexibility, and really great presentation aspects that built-in polling on videoconferencing software doesn’t offer. It really works for gathering, keeping, and maintaining information.

Daryl Sieplinga, CEO and Consultant at the State Alliance of Michigan YMCAs, has been using Poll Everywhere to engage community leaders in strategic planning meetings for several years now. “I was first exposed to it when I was a participant in an online meeting and I appreciated the new, creative way of gathering instant audience feedback.”

Incorporating live feedback

In his role at the State Alliance of Michigan YMCAs, Daryl supports all the YMCAs throughout the state. After discovering Poll Everywhere, he started incorporating live activities when helping leadership teams with strategic planning. “One of the key functions in the process is having a series of community leader forums or focus groups. I used Poll Everywhere to ask questions about the relative importance of different strategic priorities. The sole purpose was to take the pulse of the room so they would have some fodder for discussion as part of the meeting. That gave me an early sense of what folks were thinking and let me present data to tee off conversations.”

At those meetings, Daryl would lead discussions on some of the critical issues teams were facing in the three tenants of YMCA work: healthy living, youth development, and social responsibility. “The ranking activity in Poll Everywhere was a great way to kick off the conversation because we could narrow down to the top three issues facing folks in each of those areas. I valued Poll Everywhere for that purpose and it was really helpful in that experience.”

Recently, Daryl has moved his meetings to fully online. “We, like the rest of the world, have discovered there are some things that we can do just as well in a virtual setting. We've had to use tools to reach consensus on decisions and outline priorities related to critical issues we’re facing, both in terms of keeping our operations running and meeting new needs that we’ve been identifying across the state.”

To lead productive discussions, Daryl has been using Poll Everywhere to present new activities.

Before the pandemic, I would reuse a lot of my questions, so I’d clear and archive the results before presenting those activities again. Since March, though, almost all of my questions have been unique. I’ve created them directly within the Poll Everywhere app for PowerPoint because it’s straightforward and user-friendly.

Leveraging results

Based on the results from the discussions, Daryl walks away with actionable insights. “We determine where we should allocate our resources toward supporting the issues that have been identified or find ways to secure additional resources.”

Daryl has been finding new, effective ways to use Poll Everywhere beyond the scope of his meetings. “The word cloud activity has been a really fun way for participants in those meetings to share what they’re most proud of in their own work and at other YMCAs. We were able to use that as a rallying point both in the meeting and then when we shared it with others across the state. For example, we could demonstrate our advocacy efforts to legislators and senators.”

Outside of his professional role, Daryl has also been hosting interactive, virtual get-togethers with his family. “A couple of times since March, our extended family has come together to honor my father, who passed away 10 years ago. We used Poll Everywhere to ask questions like ‘What was your favorite saying that he used?’ and participated in a photo reenactment contest. Before the call, we asked folks to recreate different photos and then had everyone vote for their favorites.”

With the help of Poll Everywhere, the entire family got a chance to take part in the tribute. “We had family members on that call from seven or eight to seventy years old all using the tool to participate. It gave us the opportunity to connect people of all ages and ability levels in a fun way.”

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