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Audience Response Systems Provide Meeting Makeover

How Sherwin-Williams turned dull meetings into bright learning experiences.


Each year, Sherwin-Williams hosts a national sales conference for nearly 1,900 members of its Sales Excellence team. To host a successful meeting of that size is a vast undertaking, and to incorporate a new structure is even more of an obstacle. Chuck Mengel, Training Manager for Sales Excellence, wanted to increase employee engagement and retention of material, all while delivering a consistent training overview of the company's Seven Step Sales Process.


Audience response technology integrated with PowerPoint was used to create a collaborative learning environment and measure training effectiveness. The platform allowed Mengel and his trainers to collect audience feedback in real-time with audience response clickers and gauge learner understanding through engaging interactive presentations. At the national sales conference, the Sherwin-Williams' Sales Excellence team had the opportunity to participate in cooperative learning activities and voice feedback to the trainers on the information presented. The voting clickers offered a unique opportunity to incorporate live, quiz-based training sessions on the Seven Step Sales Process. Teams were created from geographic sales areas to encourage participation through friendly competition.


Through the use of audience response technology, the sales team greatly benefited from participation in a social learning process. Mengel was provided with a means to quantify learning development made by the geographic sales areas as well as a mechanism for the trainers to measure their overall effectiveness. "The final feedback was upbeat, and people were excited about what interactive polling could accomplish in a short span of time," stated Mengel. Audience response systems and response clickers are a mainstay with Sherwin-Williams, as the company has utilized the technology more than a dozen times, and there are no plans for slowing down its use.