Background

Cam Brennan is a Kansas Youth Pastor who wanted to create a safe environment for church students to anonymously ask questions about the sensitive topics of sex and dating to a panel of adult sponsors, who help run Fellowship Bible Church’s Youth Group every week.

The adults know teens are tempted or pressured to be sexually active, but it’s difficult to tell to what extent. So, Cam got creative and leveraged Poll Everywhere’s anonymous polling to let teens to express their feelings and curiosities, without having to feel self-conscious or ashamed. This openness gave everybody at the church, students and adults alike, candid insights into how others feel and think about a delicate topic.

Anonymity creates trust and keeps conversations open.

Cam knew that his students wouldn’t be as open and comfortable if they were discussing sex and dating in front of their peers, and especially adults. Cam also knew that new ways of doing things (like utilizing the devices the students already use daily) had been successful in the past. So, Cam used Poll Everywhere to create a more engaging experience for the students, and more importantly, an experience that was comfortable for all participants.

He set polls to receive anonymous, open responses from the students. This way, they could ask whatever was on their minds about sex, dating, even marriage, without fear of being singled out. He made sure to monitor responses with the Moderation feature, to weed out jokes and inappropriate comments that could derail the discussion.

Moderation allows you to set the pace of incoming questions and keep topics on track.

Cam was able to make sure that comments that were glaringly inappropriate or off-topic didn’t display on the screen in front of the audience, which kept the discussion on track. Luckily, Cam actually didn’t encounter too many of those types of responses. Students genuinely wanted to engage with the panel, and the event was more successful than he expected.

According to Cam, “Using Poll Everywhere was a great way to encourage our students to ask the questions they really wanted to ask, without having to raise their hand and ask it in front of everyone else. I’m convinced that had we done it ‘the old fashioned way’ the night would have been a flop.”

How can you do this?

Step 1

Plan to project the participants’ questions in an area that’ll be easy to see (such as a projector screen).

Step 2

Create an open-ended poll question. In this case, it could be something like, “What would you like to know about sex and dating? Ask us anything.”

Step 3

Set the open-ended poll question to be anonymous, and tell the audience that you won’t be able to identify any of the participants.

Step 4

Project the open-ended poll question and let your participants speak freely. Monitor responses to keep the conversation on track, if you feel it’s necessary.

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