Audience Response Best Practices

Start with an icebreaker

It may be the oldest trick in the book, but ask an off-topic question so participants are familiar with the keypads and how the system works. Provide clear instructions on how to respond.

Ask useful questions

Make sure that you use audience response in alignment with your objectives. Asking questions that don’t apply to the topic at hand won’t help analysis of data or effectiveness of the presentation.

Remember to inform the audience whether answers are being tracked or remain anonymous at the beginning of your presentation

Tracked responses will score individuals for assessment purposes, but anonymous polling may elicit more honest answers and feedback.

Keep it simple

Keep regular slide and interactive slide content short. Don’t overload the presentation with questions and don’t overload a question with answer choices.

Personalize your presentation

Change default settings to match your presentation scheme. Check out our blog post on matching your ARS questions to your content slides.

Don’t lump all your questions together

Break up lecture material with questions so that participants don’t lose focus.

Be creative

Ask more than “yes” or “no” questions. Try multiple choice, multiple response, priority ranking, matching and “true” or “false.”

Ask opinion-oriented questions

Often the most surprising results come from these questions and a dialogue can be created when attendees find out they are not alone in their views.

Let the discussion guide questions

Depending on the direction of your presentation, it may be appropriate to add questions on-the-fly.

Make it a competition

Not only is it a fun way to get the audience involved, it often builds teamwork and energizes the room for upcoming polling questions. When using a participant list, add a “fastest responder” slide to see who responds correctly first.

Assign point values to questions

Instead of making every question right or wrong, assign points and pass out awards to attendees with the most points.

Include an Answer Now, Countdown Timer and Correct Answer Indicator into interactive slides

These cues will give audience members specific instructions for responding during presentations. View our blog post on effectively using a countdown timer.

Utilize other technologies

Integrate LCD projectors, whiteboards and even virtual collaboration tools for a fully-engaging presentation.

Eliminate the paper survey

Use an audience response system as a green alternative to paper surveys.

Utilize collected feedback

Whether you’re accumulating opinions or gathering demographic information, be sure to use the data for more than taking attendance. Guide the direction of the current session, apply responses to your next event or use demographic information for marketing materials.

Create reports

After votes have been submitted and votes have been collected, there is a wide range of reports that can be run to analyze the data.

Keypads are not a gift

Make sure to tell the audience all keypads must be returned. Remind attendees to leave the keypads on the seat or create a drop off box available by the exit.

Remember to rehearse

Do a run-through of your presentation in the location you will be speaking in so that no unexpected errors occur.

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