Live Polls: A Comprehensive Guide to Enhancing Event Engagement

The goal of any event is to foster engagement between the event organizers, attendees, and other stakeholders, such as exhibitors or sponsors. If your attendees don’t engage with you in one way or another, you’re missing out on crucial insights that could improve your business. That’s where live polls come in. This comprehensive guide shows you the importance of using live feedback to enhance event engagement and how to do that.

Live polls occur when you ask your audience questions in real-time, whether at a virtual or in-person physical event. They differ from surveys because surveys can be done offline and at your audience’s preferred time.

Getting live feedback is important for enhancing event engagement. They also give you insights about your audience’s preferences, experiences, and opinions. Your attendees also have an opportunity to interact with your panelists or presenters directly. 

live polls with guidebook

Why Live Polls Are Important

In today’s digital world, virtual events are the new normal. Although you can connect with anyone across the globe, the challenge is keeping your audience engaged. That’s where live polls come in. They’re a crucial engagement tool for every event organizer.

By using live polls, organizers can create engaging sessions and collect real-time data simultaneously.

Live polls provide the following benefits:

Increase audience engagement

With live polls, you can gather opinions and pose questions related to the event or the topic of discussion. The audience gets the chance to engage and share their experiences, thoughts, preferences, and opinions. Your speakers can increase engagement during their session and gather valuable insights to discuss during the session – or for their future work,

Live feedback allows even passive participants to engage and come alive. You can even combine forms and live Q&A with an app-building platform like Guidebook. 

Gather real-time feedback

Live polls allow organizers to gather real-time feedback. Because the response is instant, organizers get accurate, valuable insights and data. This eliminates the need for surveys, which can often have low response rates.

live polls at your event

What Live Polls Can Help You Achieve

With live polls, organizers get the opportunity to know the exact opinions and experiences of the participants in real-time. With this ability, live feedback can help you achieve the following:

Gauge audience understanding

With live polls, you can pose questions about the event or topic. Since the feedback is live, you get to gain an understanding of your audience and gear the session to that demographic. You can quickly tell whether your audience is following the content and is engaged.

Assess audience opinions and preferences

The nature of live polls allows you to assess your audience’s preferences and opinions quickly. Analyzing them helps you with audience segmentation. You can then tailor your event to suit your audience in real-time before they lose interest.

Drive conversation and discussion

Before the emergence of live polls, events were often monotonous and one-sided. Speakers and organizers would speak for hours on end without giving the audience a chance to participate. Live polls have revolutionized virtual events by driving conversation and discussion. It’s no longer a one-person show or presentation; it’s an exchange.

Inform decision-making during the event

Live polls allow organizers to collect real-time data. They can use this information during the event to adjust to their audience’s needs, expectations, and preferences. An active and alert facilitator will steer the conversation to a topic that wasn’t on the agenda – or there is a lot of interest in it. 

What Questions to Ask in Live Polls

We recommend that you think strategically in using live polls to ensure you get the most out of them. 

To keep you focused on the goal of the event, think about the following:

Relevance to event topics

Ask speakers to plan ahead of time what they want to ask the audience. Make polls part of their presentations, and engagement will skyrocket! You can hire a moderator who can manage this, or a competent speaker could even manage it on their own with a tool like Guidebook.

Open-ended vs. closed-ended questions

Live polls should always be multiple-choice questions. Keep it simple, and ensure that your presenter doesn’t get sidetracked by a completely off-topic response.  

Speakers and moderators should ask questions that provoke thought, allow the whole audience to learn something from the responses, and encourage discussion.

Balancing informative and interactive questions

While organizers aim to ensure audience engagement, they must balance keeping their audience informed and engaged at the same time. Live polls allow organizers to achieve both goals. However, the key to striking this balance is timing.

The moderator, or speaker, should time when to pose informative and interactive questions. Informative questions can be asked at different sessions of the event. This allows the speakers to break down their content into sections. You don’t want to overburden your audience with too much information at once. Interactive questions can be asked during breakout sessions.

Considering audience segmentation

Audience segmentation is essential for your events. It allows you to tailor your event to suit different demographics of your audience, helping boost their experience and meet their expectations.

Unlike traditional events where segmenting your audience is strenuous, live polls offer real-time data that allows you to segment your audience easily.

live polls for real-time feedback

How to Time Live Polls

To effectively maximize live polls, you must know how to time and when to use them. Use these guidelines:

Introduce polls at key moments

You want to introduce polls at critical moments to get the most feedback and interaction. For instance, you can pose questions after a speaker presents a new concept or product or when they want to understand what the consensus in the room is on a particular topic

Align polls with the event agenda

You must ensure that the questions asked stick to the event’s agenda. Don’t ask irrelevant questions in the name of keeping your audience engaged.

Limit polling frequency 

As much as you want to keep your audience engaged, don’t pose too many questions that distract from the session.

Allow time for response and discussion

When you pose a question, give room for response and discussion. It’s pointless to ask questions and then rush through.

Best Practices for Implementing Live Polls

To leverage live polls effectively, we recommend these best practices:

  • Keep polls to a small number of questions
  • Give clear instructions to participants
  • Choose the right technology that aligns with your business goals and event’s agenda
  • Analyze and act on poll results


Many event organizers consider live polls an integral tool. They enhance audience engagement, help organizers collect real-time feedback, and boost participation and interaction.

If you’re an event organizer, you always need to keep up with the changing trends and incorporate those into your event strategy. Live polls can make a massive difference to audience engagement and the success of your event. Keep learning so you can find more interactive ways to engage with your events!

To get you started on creating your next engaging event, talk to us about building an app using Guidebook. You can also request a demo here