Online meetings have provided a crucial connection across teams during the past year. However, spending all day online has become monotonous for many employees. Online polls are an easy way to re-engage and interact with employees during meetings and events while gathering valuable feedback to grow your business. A variety of free online polling tools are available to use seamlessly with popular business solutions, including video conferencing and Microsoft 365 products. Make the most of these polling tools with the following tips:
1. Establish simple, clear goals for your online polls.
Real-time polls can be used to plan an event, start a conversation, or break up the monotony of a long presentation. Before you write your poll questions, know what you want to accomplish. For example:
- Get immediate feedback on a big announcement.
- Identify topics to cover in future meetings.
- “Break the ice” during a social hour.
2. Write questions your audience will be willing to answer in a public space.
Online poll data is only valuable if employees respond honestly. Follow these tips for writing higher-quality polls that attendees will want to participate in:
- Consider making sensitive topic polls anonymous.
- Write clear, concise questions.
- Use language that is respectful and non-judgmental.
Some online polling tools offer an open-ended option that displays participants’ responses in a word cloud. This helps to gauge the audience’s response to an announcement and create an “icebreaker” for internal conversation.
You should also plan when each poll will appear during a meeting, how long it will be available, and when you’ll share the results. Tips include:
- Designating an individual to post, manage, and close the polls.
- Identifying when each poll question should appear during the event.
- Posting social questions during breaks to spur conversation.
3. Have a practice run with your meeting platform before the actual event.
Free online polling tools offer varying degrees of quality and ease of use. Conduct a poll “rehearsal” to ensure the polling tool is compatible with your existing virtual meeting software and that it performs to your satisfaction. Evaluation criteria should include:
- Was it easy to prepare, launch, and close the poll at the right time?
- Was there a lag between posting the poll and seeing it on the viewer side?
- Was the poll intrusive or distracting from the primary content?
- Was the overall poll experience smooth for your sample audience?
- Were the results accurate?
4. Share your poll results in real time with attendees.
People are naturally curious and want to see if their opinion matches the majority. Share poll results throughout meetings to help drive participation in later polls and provide a brief break during longer discussions. Sharing immediate results also shows that you’re listening to what employees have to say.
5. Use the results to identify areas for growth and/or improvement.
Online polls are only valuable if you convert learnings into action. Listen to the data and look for trends that show you what is going well and areas for improvement. Then, formulate a plan for using employee feedback. Positive input may spark ideas for employee rewards, team events, or future business strategies. Results can also provide a roadmap for improving the employee experience, which in turn can help retention rates.
Use a variety of free online polling tools during online meetings to gather valuable insights from your team members. Before polling, take the time to identify your goals, develop corresponding poll questions, and try out your polling solution prior to using it in a formal setting. Investing time up front can translate into big benefits for your business in the long run.