- Anonymity vs. Tracking Individual Responses
A word of caution: In some applications tracking individuals is necessary and in others it is deadly. What is your goal? Are the attendees to be empowered to speak to issues candidly, or is there a need to track their responses as in training or continuing education? If there is no need, don’t do it. The difference between the two determines how candid and honest the responses will be. Neither is wrong; they are just different. One provides more honest responses; the other provides the responses the attendees think management wants to hear. In that case you don’t need the anonymity and are just a step above quantifying hand razing.
- Failure to Determine the Important Topics
Only using the system at the end of the event or session to test retention is closing the door after the horses have left. A wiser and far more valuable methodology is to survey the attendees to determine their level of understanding and interest. Instead of guess what they are interested in discussing, or how knowledgeable they are about the topic, just ask them. It makes more sense to discuss the real issues, or discover what needs to be taught, than to find out what was wrong at the end of the session.
- Not Using the System to Learn About the Overall Event
Most of our clients only using the system for presenter’s sessions. It’s a wasted opportunity for management not to learn how the attendees feel about the event. Ask positively worded questions to find out which sessions were most valuable. It’s a tool to help make the next event better.
- Unnecessary Breakout Sessions
Ask if there is consensus about an issue prior to sending people off to waste their time. They often get there and realize they already had consensus.
Most of our clients just want to see the overall responses for the room—and are not interested in the subgroups. Even if there is no perceived need, it can be very valuable to ask some basic demographic questions (geographic location, time in job, etc.). The technology retains the demographic information for review both at the event and post event. I’ve been in the room when something surprising comes up and the demographic information becomes invaluable. If not, there is no need to show it at the event.
I encourage you to open your thoughts to possibilities beyond your previously envisioned use of ARS, and explore the system’s capacity for transformative, yet very basic techniques: the power of anonymity, the creation of ownership and buy-in, and breaking through barriers.
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.
Quick Tally® Interactive Systems, Inc.
Direct Dial: 310.306.4930
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.