Never used an audience response system (ARS) before? Here are some of our top tips for getting the most of the technology on your first attempt.
Introduce it to your audience
If it’s your first time using an ARS you should be able to relate to everyone in the audience who has never heard of the term before. That’s why it’s a great idea to provide a little introduction to familiarise all the listeners with the keypad as well as how and when to vote. Include a slide in your presentation and allot some time to make sure everyone knows what they are doing.
Skipping over this would be a mistake. Firstly you’ll get some members of your audience using it incorrectly and this will skew the results. But also you will turn off some people who feel they don’t understand what you’re doing. They are then likely to lose interest.
Simplicity is best
Spend some time ensuring that the questions you’re asking and the answers you are providing are as simple as they can be. In an ideal world you could use ‘Yes’ or ‘No’, or similar binary choices, but this won’t always be applicable to what you are presenting. If that’s the case, try to ensure that you are giving an answer that is applicable to everyone in the audience so that no-one feels left out.
Limit the number of interactive questions
ARSs can provide a brilliant way to break up a training session, workshop or presentation; they generate immediate interesting in what you are doing and often spark debates. But it is important to use interactive questions effectively. Use them too often and you’ll risk turning a fun aspect of your presentation into an annoyance. Some inexperienced users of ARSs will put all their questions at the beginning or end, for example. It’s a much better idea to spread them out across your session to maximise their effect.
Allow time for everyone to vote
What’s the rush? Too many users of ARSs will allow barely any time for their audience to answer the question. As discussed before, it’s important to remember that not everyone will be familiar with ARSs and may need a little more time to acquaint themselves with the technology before they respond. You should be especially mindful of this if you are asking more complicated questions.