How to create a poll in PowerPoint

Woman calling on audience participant during PowerPoint polling session

Despite seismic technological advances in recent years, the PowerPoint presentation is one mainstay that has stood the test of time. This is true across industries and settings, with CEO’s using PowerPoints at company-wide meetings just as instructors use PowerPoints when teaching their students.

Unfortunately, the phrase “death by PowerPoint” exists for a reason. Too often, the start of a presentation is simply a cue for many in the audience to start daydreaming or to scroll through their smartphones. Years of boring PowerPoints have taught many of us to dread being talked at while enduring the tedium of one slide after the other without any compelling information to grab our attention.

That scenario isn’t true for all such presentations, of course. Some presenters know just how to pique our interest and make us feel a part of the experience. TurningPoint audience response technology is one tool that speakers employ to make their presentations engaging, interactive experiences rather than one-sided lectures.

TurningPoint allows presenters to insert interactive questions into their presentations, while participants respond using their own cell phones, tablets or computers, or even a hardware clicker if that is preferred. The results of the poll display in real time, which makes it perfect for getting immediate feedback, assessing understanding and adjusting a lecture based on the needs and interests of each individual audience.

Steps for creating and running a PowerPoint poll

Including interactive questions in a PowerPoint presentation with TurningPoint is as simple as adding a new slide. Our native PowerPoint integration is available both as part of our desktop solution, with polling data self-contained to either your receiver or computer, and as part of our TurningPoint web platform, which automatically saves results directly to your online account.

The steps outlined below are for the TurningPoint web PowerPoint add-in. For more information on PowerPoint polling using our desktop solution, visit our help resources for PC here and for Mac here.

Creating content

Here’s how it works. Everything begins within the TurningPoint ribbon.

TurningPoint web add-in PowerPoint ribbon

To get started after installing TurningPoint web for PowerPoint and setting up a course within your account, simply open PowerPoint and follow these steps:

  1. Click New on the TurningPoint ribbon.
  2. Select one of the following question types: Multiple Choice, Short Answer, Word Cloud, Numeric Response or Hotspot
  3. Enter question text in field provided.
  4. Enter answer text in field provided (if applicable).
TurningPoint web add-in for PowerPoint enter text in slide

Once the slide is created, you have the ability to adjust question options. These vary depending on the question type, but include selecting a correct answer, adjusting the chart type or choosing to make responses anonymous. Add all interactive slides throughout the presentation in the same way, and then save your PowerPoint presentation as usual.

Polling a session

Once you create your slides, everything is ready to poll a live session. This is just like running a regular PowerPoint presentation, with only a few extra steps.

  1. Enable mobile response and/or clicker support on the TurningPoint ribbon (depending on whether your participants are responding using clickers, mobile devices or both)
  2. Start your slide show.
  3. Advance the slide to open/close polling depending on the Polling Options selected during content creation.
  4. At the end of the slide show, click Save from the TurningPoint ribbon.
  5. Rename session if desired.
  6. Select Finish.

Reviewing reports

All of the data gathered during a session is saved to your TurningPoint account to review whenever you want. Reports give valuable insights into participant understanding, so that you can identify anyone who might need some additional help. You can also use reports to get an overall view of how the entire group responded to each question.

  1. Click Results from the TurningPoint ribbon.
  2. Select desired course to access results. The TurningPoint web results for the course open in a browser.
  3. Filter by session or student in the left panel.
  4. Click Reports on the top right to view detailed reports.
  5. Additionally, you can click Upload Grades if using an LMS-associated course.

Tips for incorporating meaningful questions into your PowerPoint presentation

As illustrated above, using the TurningPoint software for simple engagement is easy. The real challenge is incorporating meaningful questions that inspire participants to think critically while encouraging interaction, collaboration and communication. Here are a few ideas to help you get started.

Monitor comprehension

Ensure material is effective by asking participants to recall concepts mid-presentation or by administering pre- and post-tests. Being able to analyze comprehension instantly allows you to tailor a presentation to each group by repeating information if it is not widely understood or skipping parts of the session that are already mastered.

Increase conceptual understanding

Spark discussions by incorporating common misconceptions as answer choices. With this tactic, you can recognize what misconceptions your participants hold and focus on these as a means of increasing long-term understanding.

Apply knowledge

Use TurningPoint to help participants apply knowledge of concepts to a particular situation or context. Predict ways participants will misapply a concept and integrate them into answer choices as a way to promote the correct application. If many participants answer incorrectly, ask for their rationale to start a discussion.

Promote critical thinking

Ask participants to analyze relationships among multiple concepts or make evaluations based on particular criteria. Facilitate discussions based on the reasoning behind participant answer choices and re-poll to see if answers change.