Today voting can be very much taken for granted, even though it was not that long ago that it was considered a privilege for the wealthiest class of society. Before 1832 gender, property and location all affected the right to vote. It was widely argued that the poor and working classes had no voice in parliament.
But nowadays collecting responses from a group isn’t always easy. Take the General Election this week and the notorious response from Brenda of Bristol when it was first announced, “You’re joking? Not another one.” When garnering feedback in the live event environment, it’s also important to make sure that everyone has their say and you get the most representative set of responses possible, without your audience tiring of the process.
At Broadsword, we pride ourselves on our ability to fuse the physical with the digital. We have a number of vote processes up our sleeve which are simple and effective. We believe that live event voting can be powerful, practical and accessible.
Electronic voting can be a good solution for a response system – lightweight, credit card-sized handheld voting devices enable delegates to cast a vote based on a series of questions listed on a slide presentation, with each audience member pressing the button corresponding to their response. These responses are then collated immediately by a receiver device, and are presented in an attractive graph or chart integrated into the slideshow. The advantage of a keypad voting system is that it is efficient and easy to conduct.
An alternative would be to utilise a feedback app. Not only can this be used for live polling and pushed to delegates on their own devices, there is also the facility for questioning. Organisers can cherry pick questions that the audience themselves want to ask, moderating so that sessions stay ‘on topic’.
Looking for a back to basics solution? An acrylic coin cascade can be cleverly designed as an interactive, tangible voting box. Coin slots allow delegates to feed tokens on to question ramps that travel down to deposit drawers underneath.
Why do people of all ages engage with this type of feedback tool? It is very simple – they love to watch the coins drop and fall around in different slots at different speeds.
Similarly, pinning comment cards to trees or washing lines, filling jars with sweets or pouring fizzy pop into plastic tubes all appeal to the inner child. These theatrical add-ons are tactile, amusing and the votes themselves should form part of the display, so that guests are drawn to the spectacle of the station itself.
As the nation cast their vote this Thursday, there will be a number of Broadswordians who catch themselves wondering if the turnout could have been improved with the promise of a giant marble run! Maybe next time…