September 11

Stop Fighting for Attention! Use Real-Time Polls to Increase Audience Engagement!


Tired of fighting with a smartphone for your prospect’s attention during your sales presentation? Stop fighting and embrace it by using the power of real time polls to promote audience engagement and reinforce your message!

The Power of Gamification

Real-time polls come from the world of gamification — the use of game elements like scoring, rules, and competition – and are an effective new tool to have in your presenter’s toolkit. By combining mental focus, physical activity, and ongoing action, real-time polls are an excellent way to gain audience attention, drive learning and retention during your presentation or demonstration:

Power up your Q&A:

Asking your audience for a show of hands is so 20th century.

Posing a thought-provoking question on a topic that leads into your presentation and asking your audience to weigh in on their smart phones and show them the results in real-time? Now you’re moving into the new millennium. Sound complicated?  It takes some prep, but it’s really not if you have the time and an internet connection. There are a variety of on-line polling programs — some free, like, some paid — that are easy to set up and make it possible to access real-time results live in your presentation. Here are some tips for setting up and delivering a real time poll.

  Preparing your polls:

  •  Set up an account with a polling program that allows for text message polling and take some time to get familiar with it.
  •  Develop your poll question(s) and assign a unique code to each answer. (Hint: Read here for some tips on picking the right question. A “duh” question can fail just as easily with cool technology as old-fashioned show of hands. )
  •  Create a slide for your poll, clearly displaying the code numbers for each answer and a number to text their response to.
  •  Confirm you will internet access at the venue where you’ll be delivering your presentation.

Presenting your polls: 

  •  Use your poll during the opening to frame your presentation or to introduce a new topic or agenda item.
  •  Ask your audience to weigh in on the question by texting the corresponding code to the displayed text number.
  •  Open a separate browser to show the poll results as they happen in real-time on your screen.
  •  Encourage discussion on the results. Remember, the purpose of a poll is to grab attention and leverage the results into a compelling discussion.

This is just one way to use a real-time poll to win the war on attention in your presentation. You could also introduce a little friendly competition by creating a Leaderboard where a few members of your audience provide an answer and the rest of the audience votes anonymously on their favorite. Whatever you choose to do, a real-time poll offers a highly interactive and memorable springboard to launch into your presentation or regain waning attention. Remember, if the rest of your presentation falls short, your victory will be short-lived! Get more tips on winning strategies for engaging your prospect here.



audience engagement, polls, presentation skills, sales presentations

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