How to Boost Attendee Engagement with Live Polling

May 18, 2016

Event planners are always looking for ways to keep their attendees’ attention and engage them in the event content.

Never has this been more important as the moment attendees lose interest in the event there is an endless stream of distractions to hand on their smart phones.

Many of our clients look to live polling to help keep their attendees engaged. In our App Talk series we introduced you to live polling. We’re now going to take a closer look at how event planners can get the most from this event app feature.

Get Your Speakers On Board

If your speakers are excited about live polling your audience will be too. A bit of planning and communication before the event app is launched will ensure effective polling.

Provide concise instructions to your speakers to explain how the polling will work. Allow them to draft their own questions and give them a deadline for submission. Less is more at this stage. You can send further details regarding additional opportunities closer to the event.

If communicating by email, incorporate some images of the polling interface and results display to help your message stand out. Here is some copy we have tried and tested.

Dear Speakers, 

We are delighted to offer you an exciting opportunity to engage with your audience at XYZ Conference.

Ask multiple choice or open-ended questions and see the results appear on screen in real time. The audience will answer the questions via the event app/conference app. To participate simply send your questions along with multiple choice answers if applicable to email@email.co.uk by Monday 15th February. 

Provide Quick Access

Make the live polling module easily accessible to attendees from the home page of your event app. If it’s quick and easy to access more attendees will participate. Also, the less clicks to get to the current poll the better.

Hide polls once they have been completed so the upcoming poll is at the top of the list and it can be accessed in two clicks or less.

If you have live polling taking place in lots of sessions in more than one room consider adding a live polling widget per room on your event app home page. If all of your attendees are in one room make use of the event app alerts to send a link to an upcoming poll just before the speaker asks the question.

Think About The Results

Carefully consider the logistics of how the results will display. If you have an AV team in each room, you can ask them to switch to a second laptop to run the count down clock and music and to display the results before switching back to the speaker’s laptop.

Alternatively create a slide for each polling question with a countdown clock and music and a link to the results to send to the speakers to include in their slide decks.

Consider how you can use the data collected via live polls on your event app. If you are running an industry event, pictures of the polling results can make for interesting tweets – especially if the results are unexpected. In the case of employee events, before and after questions can be used to measure a change in opinion after a particular session or the event overall.

Evaluate Your Sessions

If you are using an event app to capture evaluation data at the end of each presentation you will dramatically improve your response rates if you run the evaluation questions as though they were live polls.

The only difference is you won’t display the results live on screen as you do when polling.

This is how it would roll. The MC displays the first evaluation question on screen then starts the countdown clock and music giving 10-20 seconds for attendees to answer. The MC then moves on to ask to the second question and again gives the audience 10-20 seconds to answer.

If you can spare the time to do this you can be rewarded by response rates of over 95%. By comparison if your MC asks the audience to go on the event app and rate the session in their own time you may only achieve response rates of 50% or less.