Dot Voting


9th May 2021 by Steve Holyer

Yves Hanoulle (@YvesHanoulle) asked this question via Twitter.

What tool would you advise for dot voting (on preselected topics) for a (remote) conference workshop ?
==> large group that does not need to have an account

I agree with Dave Nicollete's (@DaveNicolette) answer. He was the first responder:

The chat feature of the videoconferencing tool. People can enter their votes that way. It doesn't look like dot voting in person, but the net effect is the same. Not perfect but good enough, and lightweight (not more and more "tools").

I want to amplify that signal. Dave's answer matches the Coaching Cocktails' way.

We sometimes talk about simple rules.

Well, complex online sessions need simple tools.

(As I heard recently, "In an excited container, managers focus on all the particles, leaders focus on the space.")

There are two simple-ish ways to do dot voting "the Coaching Cocktails way".

Lean Cocktails

This picture describes how we often use Zoom's™ chat to do dot voting for Lean Coffee™ Cocktails during our meetups.

I described our Lean Coffee Cocktails "flow" in this picture (including our two variations on dot voting). I also mentioned using a slide board or other virtual whiteboard, but all you really need is Zoom and chat. (We rarely use the whiteboard for our lean cocktails actually).

Contact me if the picture is not legible to you, accessible to you, or if you have questions.)

More Tools

I try to design meetups, and other sessions, so that I don't need to use a whiteboard (or polling) tool. Of course, I want to design for connection and engagement that's he same or better than it would be in the same room using a whiteboard and other physical tools.

Sometimes I can't figure out how to do that without a "virtual whiteboard". Collaborative drawing, spatial collaboration, and visual facilitation all add impact to meetups when we hold and use our space well.

When I do want to use a whiteboard, I try to use Google™ Slides as an app on which I build my own collaborative board.

I understand the many advantages to using Google Slides over the alternatives—especially Miro™, Mural™ and even Google Jam Boards.

But, I haven't really written the advantages down. I think it's time to do that soon. I did just put several thoughts about avoiding accessibility issues when using slides in the next post for a start.

Checking in with Yves

Looking back at Twitter, I see that Yves replied to Dave saying that the chat solution is not good enough for his needs.

Yve replied:

Not good enough for what I need (now) I will give them +10 options, and I want to see in one glance which one won. I don't have the time to count

I believe he plans to use a polling tool like Mentimeter or and now I realise he was asking for alternative, easy to use, engaging polling tools.

I trust Yves skills as a facilitator (I've known him as a coach an facilitator for years and learned a lot from him). I'm sure this is compatible with the impact he's creating in that session. I imagine he'll use his limited time to embrace the engagement that his topic requires. Yves' understands his needs and the impacts of how he holds the space.

At the same time, I'm passionate about this topic, because I see people spreading the idea that most people prefer to engage online with polling tools.

I  just don't think this is true.

In many situation I believe people say they'll engage with polling tools, because they don't know another way to engage, or their hosts don't know how to hold space for more engaging connections without using polling.

People use polling tools because people don't know how to use the alternatives. (And yes. I will help you learn better alternatives. Watch this space for an unwebinar and new training on holding space for real engaging work online. That's coming very soon.)  Or just contact me so I can work directly with you. As a consultant I am, as they say, "available for work".

Coming Soon

The picture above is from a larger Slide Board template, that I created and used when I hosted Deepti Jain's Open House during the recent Agility Today conference. As we say in my home dialect, I'm "fixin to"  release this entire template for you to download and use.

This template can help you hold space for engagement and create more impact in the meetups and sessions you host. (I wasn't planning to write a post today.  Now I've written two!)

I'm writing these posts on a Sunday afternoon, because I felt passionate about answering Yves' tweet. Suddenly, I felt the need to get this experience and wisdom about online meetups out of my head and into the net to share with ya'll.

I will stick to my original flow and publish the rest of the board in the coming days for everyone. If you follow me on Twitter or watch LinkedIn, you'll know when I release it.  Or of course, you can send me an email, or check back here too.)