- Use case
In the old world, even ten to twenty years ago, it was always fifteen minutes for Q&A at the end. That just doesn’t fly now because people tune you out if you don't show from the very beginning that you want to interact and engage with them.
Scott Kirsner, CEO at Innovation Leader, has been using Poll Everywhere since 2008 to engage audiences around the world at conferences, talks, and events.
Introducing Poll Everywhere
It all started while Scott was organizing and speaking at conferences related to the movie industry. Exploring “the future of entertainment as it shifted over to the Internet,” he used Poll Everywhere during his talks at film festivals to get the audience’s thoughts. “Back then, before the smartphone era, people were really excited to be texting to submit their responses.”
The types of questions Scott would ask included What's the biggest challenge facing independent filmmakers this year? At startup conferences, he’d present What’s the most promising demo you’ve seen? Sometimes questions were based on audience demographics: How many times have you been to this conference? Where are you from? How are you feeling about the future?
Scott is a big believer in audience engagement. For him, “One of the benefits of using Poll Everywhere is that it provides an approved way for people to be using their phones. We all have that habit of wanting to be on our phones at least once every ten minutes, and while you’re trying to engage an audience from the stage, giving them an approved, sanctioned way to use their phones is great.”
As the CEO of Innovation Leader, Scott focuses on innovation at larger organizations. He uses Poll Everywhere to hear from everyone.
Poll Everywhere lets me listen to people who might not otherwise get up to ask a question and raise their hand and come to the microphone. It's a way to hear from the more introverted, quiet audience members. They might use a Poll Everywhere activity to ask a question or share their opinion.
Building excitement with Competitions
Recently, Scott has almost solely been using Competitions, especially as his events and meetings moved to virtual: “They’re so lively and add a game show element to a talk. It really does get people engaged, and it's also a fun way to do something that's related to the subject matter but is not boring. Just a few days ago, I used Competitions on a Zoom call where the top three contestants won an autographed copy of a participant’s newly published book.”
Another creative Competition Scott put together was during a Zoom event he ran for leaders in nonprofit innovation. “We put together a trivia Competition about all of the speakers. They were all from different nonprofits like Habitat for Humanity and United Way and American Cancer Society, and the trivia questions were about each of those organizations for a prize. Participants really enjoyed that.”
With years of Poll Everywhere experience at large events, Scott’s advice is to build dialogue into different points throughout your presentation. “These days, particularly online, I think the best practice is to plan three or four interactive moments in the beginning, middle and end of your meeting. That keeps participants feeling like they’re being listened to and prevents them from being distracted by other windows on their computer.”
People want to connect with each other and express themselves in new ways now so I’m excited to see the new features Poll Everywhere rolls out.
Poll Everywhere for events
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