Friday, June 29, 2012

Polling Questions

I sat in on the end of a webinar that Adobe put on: "How to present a webinar without PowerPoint slides"
In this highly engaging session, Dr. Carmen Taran will show you how you can present virtually without slides. You will learn several practical techniques that move beyond keeping an audience engaged with chat and polling questions. The techniques will involve innovative activities that attract an audience's attention, promote creative thinking and intellectual stimulation, and overall make them feel like the floor has been lifted.
Unfortunately, I missed the first half, but the section I saw was mostly devoted to using polling questions in imaginative ways. Recommendations included:

  1. Take more risks with your polling questions: Don't use the same old dull and boring questions about what computer you have, what software you use, etc.
  2. Don’t just use a poll to gather information; provide feedback. For example, relate the responses to studies (i.e. after asking how many people owned a pet, revealed that usually 50% of people own a pet, and in this group the number is…) 
  3. Try “Have you ever?” questions.
  4. Allow your participants to contribute info and create their OWN polling questions.
Some examples of useful questions:
Do You like to manage people?
Do you know how to measure your effectiveness as a manager?
Have you ever misjudged someone?
Do you regularly check yourself out in store windows and mirrors?
It was suggested that if you're polling a large group (i.e. more than 100) you don't have to wait for 50% or greater response to get a valid response. A 20% response rate to a poll is sufficient to move on, particularly with a large group.

The suggestions reminded me of an episode of The Prairie Home Companion where they polled people, but they said that while they wanted to get some demographic information, they didn't want to be too intrusive, so they asked questions like:

How much education have you had:

  1. Not enough
  2. About right
  3. Too much
  4. Not finished

What kind of vehicle do you drive?:

  1. Junker
  2. Economy Car
  3. Luxury Car
  4. Public Transportation


  1. Was the survey pictured above created using Captivate, or a different Adobe product? If Captivate, could you describe how I can make something similar?

  2. Polls are such an important (but poorly-used) part of webinars, so thanks for sharing these tips.

    You might be interested in the 2nd section of this post about webinar techniques, where I discuss using polls to really help the audience. (For instance, I recommend polling people about the pace of your webinar. That way, you can speed up or slow down to suit the consensus, and people who are still dissatisfied at least see that you’re going with the majority decision!)