Audience Mind-Meld: Real-Time Data Makes It Possible

Have you ever given a presentation to a large group, looked out at your audience and wondered what they were thinking? If you give presentations for a living, you probably have a number of techniques to take your audience’s pulse, such as asking for a show of hands or opening the session up for questions to get their thoughts on a topic.

But chances are, these techniques result in an exploration of only a limited number of points of view. Most people don’t speak up during presentations, and if you rely solely on those who do, you might be missing out on important perspectives.

Post-presentation online surveys are a popular way to gauge audience reaction. The drawback to that technique is that response rates are typically quite low, meaning they offer only a limited snapshot of the audience’s thinking.

Presentation survey forms are another method used to gain audience insight. But like online surveys, response rates are an issue. And the data is only gathered and analyzed after the event is over, so it’s impossible to apply lessons learned right away.

There is a way to find out what audiences are thinking in real time: Audience response technology. Polling technology can allow presenters to embed questions directly into a PowerPoint presentation and enable audiences to respond using keypads or smartphones.

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About the Author

Sheila Hura is Vice President of Marketing and Advertising at Turning Technologies, the leading provider of instructional, assessment delivery and data collection solutions for learning environments. To learn more about how Turning Technologies’ audience response systems can create interactive presentations, engage participants and immediately assess understanding, please visit