Polling! Presidential election season is in full swing right now in the United States and that means the media reports on a myriad of poll results daily. If you look closely at the poll questions they are generally clear and unbiased, although every now and then a biased question surfaces.
Polling is one of my favorite features in a web conference. Well-designed polls can enhance a web conference and give a boost to your audience engagement. Poorly designed polls can frustrate your audience and have the opposite effect. To avoid such pitfalls, think of polls as ‘mini-surveys.’ We can apply best practices from surveys in a web-conference to maximize the results of polling: avoid leading questions, eliminate unclear language, limit answer choices, etc. I explored this topic in depth in an article on Best Practices for Polling in Web Conferences if you are interested in learning more.
We’ve all heard the saying that you only get one chance to make a first impression. This seemed liked an appropriate topic my first blog entry on web conferencing. I have a passion for web conferencing and how to design and deliver first-rate sessions. Elliot Massie recently posted an article about the Reflections on the First Three Minutes of Learning, summarizing ideas from his readers about the power of the first three minutes. In a web conference, the first interactions with a participants are extremely influential. Participants will quickly decide whether or not your session is worth their time or if they should go back to their email.
Making those first three minutes as interesting and flawless as possible requires preparation and rehearsal. I like to get the participants to practice posting a chat message, changing their status icon and responding to a poll within the first three minutes. It sets the tone for a high level of interaction and gets new participants used to the technology quickly.
Darlene Christopher is a Learning Officer for the International Finance Corporation (IFC), a member of the World Bank Group in Washington DC. She has been designing and delivering virtual training programs for global audiences for over nine years. She is the 2008 winner of IFC’s Climate Change Challenge Award for a Virtual Onboarding training program for new worldwide staff contributing to the reduction of IFC’s carbon footprint. Darlene produces elearning products for synchronous and asynchronous environments and is a skilled facilitator for both live web events and threaded discussion boards. She also has a diverse technology background holding web product management positions in Silicon Valley at Infoseek, Disney Internet Group and 3Com. Darlene holds a Master’s degree in International Management from the Monterey Institutional Studies as well as a Bachelor’s degree in Spanish from the University of California, Davis. She also serves on the board for the Metro DC Chapter of ASTD as the Director of Virtual Programs. Disclaimer: the views expressed in this blog are the authors' own and do not necessarily reflect those of the World Bank Group.