Live polling results illustrated on the presentation screen
avatarBy Vahagn Aydinyan

Live polling is a great tool for collecting real-time statistics during an event or presentation. Speakers use ‘live polling’ to keep audience members engaged and to discover which aspects of the presentation they find most interesting. By making the event interactive, organizers and presenters are able to provide a relevant and engaging experience to customers. Just as important, the polling data can be recorded and used to plan future events.

That already sounds like a perfect proposition for event planners and marketers. But it gets even better. By optimizing live polling with SMS technology, engaging the audience is even easier and less costly.

Hardware not necessary

Real-time SMS polling eliminates the need for costly hardware. The only pieces of hardware required for a text message poll are mobile phones in the hands of audience members (if you’ve ever given a presentation, you know that isn’t a problem). The presenter can create and launch the poll in five minutes adding all types of necessary questions.

Getting the audience involved

It feels great to express your opinion while engaging with a room packed with people. You can assert your individuality while staying involved in the conversation. Live polling promises audience participants just that: the chance to engage with the topic easily and effectively.

Also, SMS polling lets the speaker engage with the audience on a horizontal level, not as a lecturer on the bully pulpit.  The speaker can send direct questions, gaining insight into relevant topics and prioritizing audience interests and needs. You can even organize Q&A sessions through SMS polling, saving time and allowing the speaker to answer more questions.

Reliable, real-time statistics

A skilled presenter can use the statistics gathered in live SMS polling to keep the show moving in the right direction. For example, you can literally ask the audience what they want to hear about next. What better way to keep the conversation flowing?

Those statistics can also be saved and used to plan future events. Knowing what participants did/didn’t respond to will help you plan more engaging future events. Marketers can also test the waters regarding upcoming initiatives and launches. Consider offering a sneak peek of that soon-to-launch service, and then gauge audience interest.

Opportunity for additional content

Keeping relevant statistics is a boon for content creation. Testing audience preferences helps marketers create targeted content and distribute it to those who participated in the SMS survey, or a similar audience who could potentially be interested in the same content, products and services.

Real-time statistics are visible to the audience

The best use of live polling involves showing audience responses on the presentation screen. This helps participants engage with each other as well as with the speaker. A great technique to keep audience attention is to ask relevant trivia questions and show the answers on the screen.

Ease of use

Perhaps the best feature of ‘SMS live polling’ is its ease of use. It’s not only easy for the organizer and presenter but also for the audience, who simply reply to polls and survey questions via text message. And because audience members are receiving polling questions via text, there’s no risk of a weak Wi-Fi signal ruining the day.

Direct response software like textLabTM allows event organizers to create a live survey campaign in five minutes or less. A skilled presenter can even create the survey and talk to the audience at the same time.

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