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Tech Tip: Use polling software to incorporate audience participation into your next presentation

Eric SchmiederIf you’re like me, you often give presentations to a class or conference audience and leave wondering things like “Did they get it?” or “What questions were left unanswered?”

My Solution: Incorporate Poll Everywhere into the presentation and know for sure!

Poll Everywhere works with PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides from Windows or Mac computers to add interactive polling to your presentations. Audience members then respond to your questions in real time through a web link or text message during your live presentation and their responses are displayed on the screen as they are received.

Several types of activities can be created using Poll Everywhere including:

  • Multiple-choice questions
  • Rank order where audience members rank provided options
  • Q&A which allows audience members to provide ideas or questions and then upvote or downvote responses
  • Clickable images that allow for defined areas within an image and tracking of where audience members click
  • Word clouds or open-ended questions that display responses in one of four ways
  • Surveys that combine multiple questions into a single set

Once the activity has been created, you can use the PollEv Presenter app on a Mac or the Poll Everywhere PowerPoint add-in on a PC to add the activity as a new slide in your presentation. When running the slide show, the audience is shown the question and the information needed to respond in real time.

With four display options, open-ended questions are one of my favorite ways to encourage audience participation. The responses can be displayed as a Text Wall like a social network news feed, a Word Cloud showing more frequent words larger than others (best for short responses where there may be a lot of duplicate answers), a Cluster where responses are fit within the screen into varying size thought bubbles, or as a Ticker with scrolling responses on the slide.

I used the Cluster format in my TAA conference presentation this past June and the session attendees really enjoyed this interactive feature.

Your turn: Visit and sign up for your free account to add interactive polling to your next presentation!

Eric Schmieder is the Membership Marketing Manager for TAA. He has taught computer technology concepts to curriculum, continuing education, and corporate training students since 2001. A lifelong learner, teacher, and textbook author, Eric seeks to use technology in ways that improve results in his daily processes and in the lives of those he serves. His latest textbook, Web, Database, and Programming: A foundational approach to data-driven application development using HTML, CSS, JavaScript, jQuery, MySQL, and PHP, First Edition, is available now through Sentia Publishing.