PollEverywhere is great for audience interaction, but…

Last Tuesday I was invited to give a keynote speech and I resolved to make sure it would be memorable. Not memorable as in outrageous or as in a wardrobe malfunction, but rather memorable as in information people would want to remember so that they could apply it as soon as they returned home.

 

My talk was on presentation skills and the “stickiness factor”, and to make sure it would be relevant I spent considerable time talking with and emailing back and forth with the event organizer to learn about the audience.

She encouraged me to use PollEverywhere with her audience and I jumped at the chance. While engaging the audience by polling them and asking them to respond via SMS messaging is a great concept, there are a few things to keep in mind before taking this technology in front of a live audience.  Continue reading

I’m Starting To Think Conference Organizers Are Committing Malpractice If They Don’t Use This…

It was the first general session of the conference. 1pm. Just after lunch. The session was well-designed and engaging. The facilitator was dynamic and seemed to have the attention of all 250 attendees in the large ballroom. He started asking people in the crowd to shout out answers and he captured them on flipchart. This is what it looked like:

PollEverywhere Exhibit A

I was sitting in the second row when I snapped this picture. One problem was that I could barely read what was being captured. The other problem was that when the facilitator threw a question out to 250 people in the audience, only one or two brave souls dared to answer.

I’ve grown more convinced that conference organizers should be encouraging and offering PollEverywhere to any facilitator who wants to engage the audience. How can PollEverywhere transform the audience’s experience? Here are three ways:

1. The audience is going to use their cell phones during a session anyway, why not have them use their cell phones to engage with your presentation (as opposed to checking email or posting a snarky tweet with the hashtag #imsooooooooooooobored)?

2. It’s safer than shouting out an answer in front of everyone. PollEverywhere allows presenters to poll their audience with a set of multiple choice questions. It also allows presenters to ask open-ended questions.

3. The audience gets their thoughts displayed “in lights.” Every audience member has an opportunity to take part in creating content during the session if they’re given an opportunity to answer a question and have their answer displayed on a projection screen.

Know someone who has a conference presentation coming up? Pass this along!

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What Would You Do If This Happened In Your Training Session?

The clock struck 1:00pm and it was time for my presentation to begin. That’s when the first of four text messages arrived on my phone. All four messages began with the same two words: “Oh no!” My friends and co-workers had heard what was happening in my breakout room and they began to offer their empathy.

As the A/V staff frantically worked on the facility’s new projector system (which worked just fine for the previous presenter), I tried to remain calm and professional on the outside. On the inside, Continue reading