How can polls be used to create follow up discussions?

CPAC Straw Poll

Polls are fun, enlightening, and great conversation starters. Best of all, they’re an easy way for lurkers to start participating in your group.

But the best way to use a poll is to gather insight from members. However, this is actually more difficult than you might think. If you want to get real insight from them, you need to know what questions to ask and what answers to offer.

Our latest online chat asked three questions to help build up a picture of how to use polls, good and bad examples and tips on creating a good poll.

Q1. Do you have any good or bad examples of polls 

Good polls

  • Have interesting results that you can talk about.
  • Have a little bit of ‘controversy’ that will start conversations.
  • Allows all of your members to take part and uses questions that don’t exclude members.
  • Can be fun as they help members to make their first contribution. 
  • Ask questions you actually want to know the answers to.

Bad Polls

  • Are vague and do not have enough answer choices.
  • Asks a question with no intention of using the  results.

Q2. What would you say are the key elements to building a successful poll for your group?

  • Make it easy for people to answer and more people will answer.
  • Know which topics are of value and interest for your community
  • Order of the answers.
    • Generally, put YES first, NO second. Order numerical choices from lowest to highest.
    • Alphabetical order is a good choice for some things, such as names. However, you may want to order them in some way associated with the question especially if its date related.
  • Make the poll quick and easy, and ask real questions with specific answers. 
  • Avoiding leading questions that suggest what your views are and that might affect how people vote.

Q3. What do you think are the best ways to use a poll to start a conversation?

  • Identifying hot topics
  • Identifying pain points.  
  • Creating a fun element to bring the community closer together
  • Generate interest in an upcoming event or activities.

Thank you to everyone that took part and watched the conversation.

So what happens next?  There appears to be a range of great poll questions out there that we could collect to have a range of examples that everyone could adapt and use.

Have you seen a great poll recently?  What was the question?  What was the range of responses?  And lastly can you share it?

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