How can you get an audience to take an active part in the decision-making process? Is there a way to shift your presentation from passive presentation to an active discussion?


How can the ARS process be used to gain consensus quickly?


Consensual decision making takes the longest of the various decision making processes, but is also typically the best way to launch high-impact organizational changes because people have an investment in both the process and the outcome.

We were called upon by an association that wanted their members to actively work on a major decision. They needed to decide whether or not to allow another group to join their association. The client didn’t want passive members just listening to two speakers present opposing positions and then take a vote. They wanted active discussion groups to talk out the pros and cons and really comprehend the issues. How is that accomplished? How do you create an environment that encourages people to discuss a topic and come to consensus?


Interactive Mini-consensus

We solved this challenge by giving one voting device to every third person. The rule is that each mini-group group gets only one vote. Three people, one vote. This process forces the discussion to get an odd number of people to reach a mini-consensus. In this case, when all of the votes of all of the groups were tabulated, the association decided to expand their membership. This same solution can be applied to larger mini-groups such as one vote per table.

The combined instantaneous Quick Tally® voting and the process of visualizing the results on projection creates unquestioned buy-in and ownership of the results. The instant the vote is projected on the large screen, the decision is accepted and the discussion is concluded.

It is a wonderfully elegant, yet simple solution. The client was very pleased that their goal had been met and their membership was able to achieve a consensual, well thought-out decision.

Quick Tip:

Sometimes there is consensus from the beginning, so it’s important to ask the key question immediately. Another technique is to ask the single key question before a discussion begins, just to gauge the opening position, and then again after the discussion ends for the informed position. The second vote will gauge the audience’s position and by asking the right questions will expose any areas that need discussion. Often breakout discussions groups are formed to discuss topics or the general session may just continue until a final vote is taken.

With over 30 years of experience in helping clients achieve their meetings goals. I am passionate about the power of insight. If I can help your firm discover this power, please contact me.

Alan Warshaw
Quick Tally® Interactive Systems, Inc.
Direct Dial: 310.306.4930

About Me

After graduating from New York University with a degree in Communications, Alan attended the New School for Social Research, Graduate School at N.Y.U. and the Master’s Program in Cinema at U.C.L.A. Following his service in the U.S. Army, Alan was employed by Doyle, Dane and Burnbach Advertising Agency. He worked in the U.S. and Europe in the feature motion picture production business. He was employed by Quick Tally Interactive Systems for one year prior to acquiring the company. He has owned and run the company for almost three decades and has pioneered in the manufacturing of ARS equipment and providing interactive event services. In addition to US State and Federal Government Agencies, America’s leading companies, associations and television networks, he has also worked for events clients in the EU, New Zealand, Hong Kong Thailand and Dubai.