March 19, 2010

Poll Everywhere – Interact With Your Audience in Real Time

If you have ever given a lecture or sat through one, you know how important audience interaction can be. After all, keeping a large group of people interested and engaged is one of the most challenging parts of any presentation. Poll Everywhere is an application that’s trying to help with that by giving presenters a way to collect feedback from their audience instantly while the presentation is still going on. Rather than asking audience members to fill out surveys or submit online questionnaires, Poll Everywhere lets them vote on any topic imaginable from their mobile phones and continually updates the poll’s results as new responses come in.

New polls can be created by visiting the Poll Everywhere site, where you can decide between using a multiple choice or “free text” version. Both types require a short and concise question, which participants can answer by texting a pre-selected number once you have opened up the poll for voting. For multiple-choice polls, each answer will be given a pre-selected number that participants can use to vote. You can decide whether to allow people to vote more than once, and choose an automatic text message that replies to each participant once their vote has been received. Votes will be tabulated as responses come in and instantly turned into interactive charts and graphs.

Whether your poll is a multiple choice or a free-text version, the results can be embedded into a Microsoft PowerPoint presentation in an instant. Poll Everywhere makes it easy to publish results to your blog and website, too, or export them as a .CSV file for additional analysis in any desktop spreadsheet application. From lectures and presentations to live television shoots and commercial campaigns, Poll Everywhere is an interesting new audience interaction tool with seemingly limitless applications.

Practical Uses:

  • Ask the audience how they like your presentation, and get instant feedback
  • Let a crowd of people vote for their favorite performer during a talent competition
  • Gauge a group’s interest in your lecture by having them vote on your performance
  • Conduct a silent auction and let attendees bid on items through their mobile phone

Insider Tips:

  • Manage settings to only allow certain participants to respond to polls
  • Create an auto-reply message that is sent to all participants who respond
  • Use text moderation to screen free-text messages before posting them in a public forum
  • Export poll results as a .CSV file

What we liked:

  • No need for audience members to use expensive devices in order to vote
  • Instant vote tabulation lets you see results changing as more people respond
  • People can vote from their mobile phone, Twitter, or on the web
  • Free text voting allows personalized messages and comments from the audience

What we didn’t like:

  • Nothing


Company Info:

  • Launched: September 2007
  • Privately Held
  • Headquarters: Chicago, Illinois
  • Founded by: Jeff Vyduna and Brad Gessler
  • Web site:


  • Free plan
  • Personal plan is $15/month
  • Presenter plan is $65/month
  • Plenary plan is $140/month
  • Conference plan is $375/month
  • Platinum plan is $1,400/month
  • Special plans for schools and teachers

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