Presenters new to using audience response in their events inevitably are concerned about how they will manage to interpret and explain the results to the audience. Since no-one can know how an audience will vote, there is always an element of "fear" that they won't know how to react and that the live results will throw them off their stride in their presentation.
These are rational and understandable concerns to have! However, the advantages of using an interactive system in a presentation far outweigh these points, and once they have taken the plunge, presenters invariably find that using voting handsets in their meetings actually makes presenting a lot easier and enjoyable than it was before.
One option for presenters new to audience voting is to use the comparisons feature as their first step into presenting using keypads.
There are several reasons behind this, and we'll try to explain them here.
The process is the following:
By summarizing the presentation into several questions, it identifies the key messages the presenter aims to get across to their audience.
When the results are shown on the screen, the presenter does not make any comments at all, but will at some level note how much the audience understands the topic.
During the presentation and without realising it, the presenter will adapt the presentation to the audience's knowledge level.
If the audience has shown a complete understanding about one of the key messages, the presenter will move through those slides quite quickly, and without going into too much detail.
And where the audience has shown itself to be uncertain, the presenter now has more time to explain the key message to them.
What also happens is that the technical 'level' or pitch of the presentation will change too, adapting itself to the audience in the venue.
After the presentation is over, the presenter now repeats the first set of questions, and the results show the comparison to the first set of questions.
This allows the presenter (and the audience!) to see whether the key messages have been taken in. By showing them again, and this time highlighting the correct answer, the key messages are reinforced.
And if there is still some confusion about one of the points, that is not a problem at all! The presenter can deal with the issue there and then, before the audience has left the venue.
From the audience's point of view, people do remember that they have changed their opinion during the presentation and voted differently in the second set of questions. This reinforces the fact that they have learnt something, and that the presentation has been worthwhile.
So, not only is this a way to introduce new speakers to audience response, but it is in itself a very powerful tool.