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Poll Everywhere: Spice Up Your Presentations

Let’s face it. Whether it involves training your staff, keynoting the job fair at your kid’s school, or teaching the next generation of up-and-coming vet students, veterinarians are frequently giving presentations.

And in case 40 weekly hours of veterinary school lectures didn’t drill home the point: one of the most popular ways to present is Microsoft PowerPoint.

But PowerPoint, if not done right, can be a Power-fully boring.

SEE ALSO: VMD Tech’s Intro to Using Google Chrome in Your Clinic »

Here’s a quick look at an innovative way to spice up that old PowerPoint presentation while engaging your audience.

What Is Poll Everywhere?

Poll Everywhere (and the PollEV Presenter App) is an easy and free way to leverage live audience participation during your PowerPoint presentation.

Armed with two things, your PowerPoint presentation and an audience full of cell phones, you can project audience responses in real time. It is dynamic and unpredictable, and that’s probably why most audiences love it.

Poll Everywhere has been around since 2007 but their popularity is exploding (reportedly used by over 100,000 educators alone).

Their technology is not commonplace: they actually invented the world’s first software to allow mobile devices to replace proprietary audience response tools such as clickers and keypads.

Two years ago, I became addicted after I incorporated Poll Everywhere into a talk I’d given a dozen times before. The engagement from the audience was a superb addition.

Assuming your audience members have smartphones, all you need is an internet-connected presentation and you are on your way to being a slide master.

How to Get Started

Head over to and sign up. After you set up your free account, follow the instructions to download the PollEV Presenter App.

The next time you open PowerPoint, you’ll have a tab dedicated to your polls. You can now create new polls on the Poll Everywhere website and project them into your PowerPoint with ease.

During your presentation, you start the poll by projecting a question. Each answer is attached to a unique number or keyword. Audience members are given a phone number to text the response to and… voilà! As responses come in, the results auto-populate.

It’s pretty magical the first time you use it.

Oh and if you are concerned about your audience paying per text message, know that they can also interact via the twitter handle provided on each poll.

In veterinary medicine, the uses are endless. Engage your audience by asking case-based questions or use the polls to determine what they know about the topic at hand.

For the creative hospital, this program is useful beyond presentations: think staff meetings, trivia in your waiting room, or tracking attendance at a training session.

You likely already know how to make a PowerPoint organized, relevant, and entertaining. Now take the next step and actively engage your audience in a simple and intriguing way.


About the Author

Dr. Caleb Frankel is an ER veterinarian, author, speaker, and entrepreneur. He currently divides his time between two roles: emergency veterinarian at VSEC, a 70-doctor referral hospital in Greater Philadelphia, PA (USA) and the founder of Instinct Science, a new animal health company helping the world’s state-of-the-art veterinary practices streamline their care through medically-driven invoicing and thoughtful automation.

He served as Director of New Product Development at Brief Media for 4 years where he lead the development and launch of products such as Plumb's Veterinary Drugs and New York Vet. Follow Dr. Frankel on Twitter @VMDtechnology.

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