Here’s the second post inspired by conferences I have attended recently – the first was on changing delegate bevhaviours.

Here I wanted to sing the praises of in-session voting. This is nothing new – the technology has been around for a while – but it adds to a conference in a number of ways.

  1. Audience engagement: by presenting questions for the audience to answer there is little choice but to get involved, especially when the person asking the questions knows how many are in the room (ie they can keep encouraging delegates to vote until a good number have). Added to this is the suspense created between the polling and the revelation of the results. The results then prompt further discussion.
  2. Valuable content creation: By knowing who is in the audience – as most organisers and speakers do at an event, polling provides us with useful insights into defined groups of people. It is not random – if there are a group of retail managers, then their thoughts will be relevant to a wider audience who will care about what these people think. If the polling was of a group of delegates whom we knew nothing about then the content would be of less value.
  3. Content to share and engage a wider audience: Data from polls will have value way beyond the four walls in which the voting took place. The challenge is how to make it live and usable and shareable as soon as it happens – so it can be fed into the live stream of the event, if there is one that is. It can also be used by the presenters who polled their audience and the event organiser to engage a wider audience post-event.

That’s just three topline benefits of using in-session polling of event delegtes. The technology could be enhanced to better integrate into Twitter and other channels – my recent experience proved that the process of extracting data quickly is still quite difficult – here is the data from the World of Learning conference I posted on TrainingZone.