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How to engage your audience during a web event? Use polling

Posted by Teresa Lawlor on
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Find out what your audience is thinking

Unlike a physical meeting, you can’t read the body language of your participants during a web event. You need to pay attention to the little things, like the breathing (or snoring) on the other end to gauge your audience’s interest. Better yet you can ensure your audience is engaged early by using the interactive features you have available within your web conferencing service – Q&A, chat, and polling. Polling your audience is especially helpful as it can help you tailor your presentation to their needs, provide a way for them to interact during the event, and gather information that will help you with lead qualification. During training sessions you can also check their understanding and re-direct your presentation if your audience isn’t clear on something.

Best practices to follow

ReadyTalk is preparing to launch its new service, Web Meeting 6, which features robust polling functionality (you can try it out in our preview environment, see more below) so I thought I'd share a few tips I've learned. I checked in with Ken Molay, President of Webinar Success recently to get some of his recommendations as we’ve been building out our new service:


  • When polling your audience, plan to incorporate at least 2-3 polls throughout an hour-long webinar – not closer than 10 minutes apart.

  • When developing your questions, start with your overall goal in mind then create your polls; make sure this is done prior to the meeting – if you’re creating your polls during the meeting you are not paying attention to your audience.

  • Make each question simple and direct - avoid using jargon and acronyms.

  • Be careful of too much “dead air” while gathering results.

  • Participants generally like to see results so be sure to follow up with a discussion about what the results mean or why your audience should care.


Types of questions

 

In Web Meeting 6, we will support six different question/response types:


  • Yes/No

  • Free text - use this choice when you don’t know all the possible answers

  • Multiple choice with single answer and multiple choice with multiple answers– use when there are a finite number of answers

  • Ranking poll – to rate things in relation to other things

  • Opinion polls – to assess a person’s feelings about something


Creating a poll is simple using ReadyTalk's polling tool; press a button and you can create a poll, save it and insert it as a slide. Polls are persistent so if you use the same one often it will be there when you need it. And if you need it to show up later during your presentation, simply drag and drop to reorder your slides.

 

Polls versus surveys

Is there a difference between polls and surveys? Sure is. Polls are quick, flexible questions – often served one at a time; surveys are longer, more complex, and sometimes probing. Use polls during your event (don’t forget to share your results) and surveys at the end.

Check out our polling feature

If you’re an existing ReadyTalk customer, you can try out our polling feature using your current account information at http://www.readytalk.com/preview. If you don’t have an account, sign up for a free trial and you’ll get exclusive access to our Preview environment.

In the next few months the ReadyTalk Webinar Series will offer a three-part series on planning, meeting and sharing your web event. The second in the series will focus exclusively on engaging your audience during a meeting or event using polling and other similar strategies. Registered participants will receive a white paper outlining best practices so watch for more information coming soon.

Meanwhile, try out our new functionality and let me know what you think. I’d also be interested in hearing how you use polls to engage your audience.


Name: Stephen Beck
Time: Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Another great benefit of polls is the ability to get the audience to admit where they are lacking (and to see where others on the webinar are lacking as well). This creates a need for more information in their minds and makes the "call to action" more compelling. They have decided for themselves what they need (from the poll) and therefore will buy your product to meet that need.

Name: Teresa Lawlor
Time: Thursday, March 4, 2010

That's a really great point Stephen. Thanks for sharing.

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