Use Mobile Polling to Know if You’ve Reached Your Audience

Have you ever presented on a complicated topic to an audience that was ready for lunch 20 minutes before you started talking? I have. Rather than an engaged audience, you might see a good number of folks tapping away on their smartphones and maybe a few people shaking their phones so UrbanSpoon will direct them where to eat.  The message you need to get across to the members of this fading and hungry audience is complex but important.  How do you reach them?  And just as importantly, how do you know you’ve reached them?

Why don’t you ask them?

I’m not talking about having people stand up and answer one by one. Do that, and you’ll likely be greeted by the sound of crickets. I’m talking about mobile polling software. Imagine those tired and hungry people having the opportunity to vote and make their opinion known.  People love to vote. We also love to play with our phones.

Poll Everywhere is one of several technology companies that offer mobile polling via SMS or text messaging. When you want answers from your audience, provide them with some simple instructions, poll them, and Poll Everywhere will grab their text messages, and produce a real time chart that can be inserted into your live presentation. All your audience needs is a mobile phone capable of sending texts—just about every phone sold in the past 10 years.

Poll Everywhere is a relatively simple option in mobile polling, but there are also mobile versions of traditional educational classroom polling software such as Turning Technologies’ ResponseWare.  Some of the larger mobile polling packages offer enterprise features like the ability to use non-phone devices (commonly known as “clickers”) to collect data, This can be especially useful for schools where students aren’t allowed to carry mobile devices into class. (For schools that do allow phones, my guess is that students are more likely to forget a “clicker” than their mobile phone.)

Mobile Polling got its start in education, but it’s quickly expanding to the wider world (including corporate conferences), and it’s doing just what I described earlier – keeping audiences engaged.  Whether you’re collecting votes to important questions regarding your industry  or taking a vote on whether the team wants pizza or dim sum for lunch, mobile polling is a great way to stay connected and engaged.

David Egger IRU Mobility Programs Lead Marketing Manager AT&T About David