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Best Q&A and polling platforms of 2021

Best Q&A and polling platforms
(Image credit: Farknot Architect / Shutterstock.com)
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID
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REASONS TO BUY
REASONS TO AVOID

The best Question & Answer and polling platforms can give you real-time analytics and actionable insights into your customers and business relationships.

When running an event, a team meeting or gathering of another kind, capturing the unfiltered thoughts of your audience can help you gain critical insight. The best Q&A and polling platforms do this while adding spark to any event by encouraging interactivity. 

They can also be great for aiding decision-making, enabling a more democratic process that ensures that everybody's voice is heard when deciding on future direction. 

The best Q&A and polling platforms differ in many aspects and approaches - everything from their design and appearance to the platforms and various third-party integrations that they support. 

However, they all share the common goal of encouraging audience participation and taking your live event to the next level. Continue reading to discover what they have to offer.

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(Image credit: Slido)

1. Slido

The best polling platform

Reasons to buy
+Dynamic sessions+Inclusive feedback+Live polls with analytics+Integrations

Slido is considered by many to be the best polling platform for a reason. The software, which is used by companies such as Spotify, booking.com, Nike and Coca-Cola, is engineered for hosting dynamic and exciting Q&A sessions. By setting it up to run on a big screen, you can crowdsource the best questions from the audience and include everybody in the room in the conversation. 

Additionally, Slido lets you engage your audience with live polls which make meetings and events more interactive. Everything you do on it is backed up by actionable analytics which helps you discover which topics resonate with your audience. Slido works best when integrated with software suites such as Slack, Google Slides, and Vimeo, and it’s also compatible with most video conference and live streaming tools.

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(Image credit: Pigeonhole)

2. Pigeonhole

Large range of different session Q&As

Reasons to buy
+Various session formats+Live Q&A+Simple set up

Used by everyone from Fortune 500 companies to education institutions, Pigeonhole  has been fostering interaction between speakers and audiences since 2010. It’s capable of facilitating a range of session formats tailored to meet specific needs. They include live question and answer sessions; multiple-choice polls; open ended polls; surveys; quizzes with leaderboards; and where'd cloud polls. 

The company has designed its service with simplicity in mind, and the platform can be up and running at a live meeting within 10 minutes. It is available as a free trial with more functionality introduced in its premium packages.

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(Image credit: Vevox)

3. Vevox

Live polling platform

Reasons to buy
+Live polling+Use any device+Combine polls, surveys, Q&A

Used by thousands of organizations - in addition to universities - including Samsung, HSBC and Toyota, Vevox’s intuitive live polling allows audiences to provide feedback and text their thoughts and opinions from any mobile device while a conference or event is in motion. 

Combining live polling, surveys, and anonymous Q&A sessions, it can be set up to be used in meetings to engage employees and encourage quieter staff to provide their thoughts. Additionally, its PowerPoint add-on is capable of transforming presentations into two-way conversations, providing the ability to create and edit polls before sessions which then display results on a screen or can be stored for later.

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(Image credit: Turning)

4. Turning

Feature-rich audience participation platform

Reasons to buy
+Lots of features+Simple interface+Import to Powerpoint

Turning offers an audience participation platform that packs a slew of features including live polling and unlimited surveys for insights into customers, employees or students. We like its simple interface that provides the ability for audience members to respond to questions using a smartphone, tablet or PC. 

Better yet, results can be saved and shared using Turning’s web-based system that integrates with Microsoft PowerPoint to schedule surveys and assignments. If you prefer using a desktop app, Turning desktop brings data into the application itself, granting it greater capabilities when combined with other locally installed productivity applications.

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(Image credit: Thoughtexchange)

5. Thoughtexchange

The crowdsourcing polling platform

Reasons to buy
+Crowdsource answers+Deep analytics+Virtual events

Designed to bring employees together, Thoughtexchange helps business leaders crowdsource answers to questions in real-time using its cloud-based platform. By doing so, Thoughtexchange, which was rated a 2019 ‘Cool Vendor’ by Gartner, helps companies gather the data needed to shape internal culture and policy.  

Backed up by deep analytics capabilities, users can then fine-tune their approaches to their employees’ personal development strategies in order to ‘level up’ their learning. In addition to hosting private internal events, users can run virtual events that invite members of the public along to share their insight and help form future strategies.

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(Image credit: OMBEA)

6. OMBEA

Interactive presentation platform

Reasons to buy
+Live feedback+Tailored for different audiences+Training & assessment

Built with the sole intention of helping companies impress their audiences, OMBEA facilitates the use of interactive presentations. Used by companies including Siemens, BMW and eBay, its audience response system displays live feedback on people's opinions and knowledge. It can be tailored for use by education institutions, businesses, government and non-profit organizations. 

For educators, its features are tailored to assessing students, tracking attainment, eliciting opinions and engaging parents. Businesses, meanwhile, can tailor the platform to train staff, engage communities, conduct focus groups, measure employee feedback and vote in general assemblies.

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(Image credit: Poll Everywhere)

7. Poll Everywhere

Presentations with live updates

Reasons to buy
+Live updates+Web or SMS responses+Various poll activities+Support for formulas

If you have set your sights on delivering polished presentations while gathering powerful feedback from audiences watching them, Poll Everywhere is a great shout. The platform allows you to ask a question and then the watch as its chart updates automatically with their responses. Audience members can respond on the web or using SMS text messaging for when cellular signal is poor. 

What’s more, users can create live trivia content to make meetings, lectures, or conferences more exciting. Poll Everywhere lets you choose from a large variety of poll activities, including multiple choice, live response, live Wordclouds, voteable clickable images and more. Questions can be written in almost any language while including LaTeX syntax (for formulas), and emojis.

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(Image credit: Crowdpurr)

8. Crowdpurr

Educational and learning poll platform

Reasons to buy
+Education focus+Live trivia games+Avoid inappropriate responses

Crowdpurr lets you create a live trivia game for your event or business meeting for free. The audience engagement platform works in three steps which begins by setting up the game through its online dashboard. It offers a deep level of customization, allowing you to interactively add questions, answers, images, custom branding, logos and more. 

To avoid inappropriate responses being submitted, you can require audiences to input their personal information – such as name, email, and other fields – and they can also sign in using a single click for convenience. At the end of your event, you can see fully detailed results for all participant responses, votes, and trivia rankings – and it's easy to export results into another application.

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(Image credit: Glisser)

9. Glisser

All-in-one audience engagement software suite

Reasons to buy
+Encourage participation+Interactive quizzes+Free trial

An all-in-one audience engagement software suite, Glisser is designed to encourage audience participation at events and other live sessions. It differentiates from competing products in that it can be used to foster interaction with event attendees through their smartphones without requiring a presentation running in the background. 

Available with a 14-day free trial, its other features include the ability to host interactive quizzes; set up Twitter Q&As (which can be moderated); analyse the effectiveness of events through the gathering of feedback; encourage digital note-taking during events, and more.

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(Image credit: Conferences.io)

10. Conferences i/o

Platform for attendee engagement, participation and learning

Reasons to buy
+Improve engagement+Host hundreds of sessions+Education and/or business

A powerful audience engagement platform, Conferences.io looks to improve attendee engagement, participation and learning by empowering audiences to interact in real-time during presentations. It has three main strands; the first, for conferences, aims to improve attendee engagement, learning and satisfaction. This module has been designed to be simple enough for single-track events yet powerful enough to host hundreds of sessions. 

The second, for education, aims to make educational content more engaging and interactive, helping organisations comply with specific continuing education requirements at the same time. Finally, its solution for hybrid events lets you gather feedback from both attendees present in the room and those watching online.

Desire Athow

Managing Editor, TechRadar Pro

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology in a career spanning four decades. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global techfests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. He has an affinity for anything hardware and staunchly refuses to stop writing reviews of obscure products or cover niche B2B software-as-a-service providers.