How to Get Presenters to Use Live Polls for Your Next Conference

Juraj Holub
Slido polls used at SXSWEco

Live polling is one of the most effective ways to increase audience interaction at your event. But in order to succeed, pre-event communication with your speakers and moderators is critical for getting the live polls integrated into their event sessions successfully.

The steps below will show you how to promote the live polls, excite your presenters and help them get people to participate.

Promote it in email communication

Include information about live polls in your pre-event communication. The earlier the better, but ideally start about three to four weeks before the event. This way, your presenters will have enough time to think about how to space the polls out in their presentation.

Keep it short, focusing on the basic introduction, the polls’ main benefits and the contact person to whom the presenters should send the poll questions and options.

You can also give them some good poll examples to follow.

To make your #eventprofs life simple, download our introduction template.

Co-host a webinar

In most cases, it is not needed to go this extra mile. But if you do, co-hosting a webinar with the tech provider is the ultimate way to help your speakers get familiar with polling and gain confidence about using it.

With the IMEX team, we invited all their speakers to 20-minute webinars organized in the three weeks leading up to the IMEX America. To make the webinar as relevant as possible, we dedicated about one-fourth of the time to the Q&A where we addressed speakers’ specific questions.

For those who couldn’t attend, we recorded the session and shared it afterwards.

Organize a Sync-up call

While emails or webinars are generally sufficient for briefing speakers, you might want to schedule a sync-up call with your emcee, facilitator or panel moderator.

These people play a critical role in steering the engagement ship.

Before the Eventex and Conventa Crossover, we connected with the moderator and co-meeting designer, Jan-Jaap In der Maur, and went over the session concepts step by step, fine-tuned ideas and discussed the capabilities of the technology.

This pre-event discussion allowed us to be in perfect sync on the day of the event.

Meet onsite

Once onsite, meet your presenters and moderators personally and go through the sequence and timing of the polls to make sure that they’ll be displayed at the right times.

Also, if any of your speakers forgot to provide their poll questions or want to edit the existing ones, now is the good time to do it.

At this point, it’s also important to brief the A/V team about the specific times when the polls should be displayed on the big screen so they can agree on the cue.

Tech tip: To check the stability of the internet connection, set up the Present view and activate a poll. Send a vote to check if the results update smoothly.

Introduce it on stage

It’s showtime!

Before your speakers step onstage, encourage them to introduce the polling platform.

From what we observed, collecting votes in the first poll can take up to 30 seconds as people need to get the hang of the tool. It’s a good practice to provide extra context to help people understand the question and encourage them to submit their votes. 

Finally, sit back and enjoy the interaction between your speakers and the audience.

For inspiration on how to use polls to break the ice during your session, here are 30 example questions for audience live polling.

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