There's nothing like polling to get immediate feedback and encourage participation. Audience polling systems use wireless, radio-frequency, handheld keypads and a receiving unit connected to a standard data projector. The systems can be rented, but easy-to-use, “turn-key” purchase options are available.
The key benefits of automatic polling are anonymity and immediacy. Nonverbal, anonymous responses tend to be honest. The responses are there for everyone to see. And because everyone wants a say, polling gets people interested and involved.
What It Costs
Rental pricing is based on a meeting's size, the number of units required, and the number of days the system is needed. Typically, the total includes a base fee (including consultation, graphic design, reports, and computers) from $750-$1,500; a per-unit keypad fee ($10 to $18 per unit per day, depending on the number of units); plus the technician's wage and travel expenses.
If you decide that you want to purchase a system, costs have come down. Prices start at less than $3,000 for a 10-keypad system, including keypads, software, and network controller.
Increased productivity — Because everyone gets a say without vocalizing it, substantial time is saved.
Variety — Questions can take a variety of forms, allowing for sophisticated data analysis.
Flexibility — Questions can be created on the fly, giving theand the audience the ability to address topics as they arise.
Increased accuracy — The data is stored in a computer, avoiding data entry errors.
Improved understanding — Comprehension can be easily tested, and measurement of degree is more accurate. A range of opinions can be expressed much more accurately than when people raise their hands.
Data export options — The data can be printed or exported to a spreadsheet or other file for distribution or further analysis.
Portability/ease of setup — A 20-person system fits into a case that will fit in an airplane's overhead compartment and can be set up in less than five minutes. Larger setups can be done in a few hours or less.
Ease of use — The 10 buttons on the typical pad are as easy to use as a push-button telephone.
Options — Some vendors offer microphones in the keypad for audience questions, an insertable key for use validation, and variable response dials (to measure moment-by-moment satisfaction ratings).
Corbin Ball, CMP, is a speaker, consultant, and writer. He helps clients worldwide use technology to save time and improve productivity. Contact him through his Web site, www.corbinball.com.
Audience Response System Vendors
Brähler ICS: www.braehler.com
Communications Technology International: www.consensor.com
CPWireless Audience Response Inc.: www.cpwireless.com
Extreme Meetings: www.theextremegroup.com
One Touch Systems: www.onetouch.com
Option Technologies Interactive: www.meeting-net.com
Swank Audiovisuals: www.swank.com