This is entry 4 of the blogchain Better Leading, Better Meeting.
I was inspired by this post to share some ideas about how you can get immediate feedback from a group. before, during, or after a class or a meeting.
Most digital communication platforms offer both public and private ways to communicate quickly, including sharing feedback. One way to extend their use beyond the obvious is to decide on an agreed upon emoji code for evaluating. Also, some tools, like WebEx Meet, already have a sophisticated polling features already built in.
For in-person events, I sometimes have people use hand signs to indicate how they feel or think about a question. This is less distruptive and time consuming than using paper; also easier than voice votes for those who are more shy.
If you want to offer more privacy or even completely anonymize responses, digital solutions can help. There are some very fancy and expensive options, but many are overkill for what I need. One simple option is to have a students simply text you their responses. Get them ready by having each person send you a quick text at the start of class. A silly emoji is fun. If you don’t want to share your phone number you could get a new one for the course at no cost or you could use a web-based messaging service like tawk.to. Sharing a QR code that will take people to a pre-made online survey is another option.
An option that allows for anonymous but public responses is to share a publicly editable document from the cloud with the group. You could write a question, then have them write their answers. Just like this. As before, it’s good to practice the tech before you use it that way people feel free and ready to respond when they need to.
Of course, you can learn a lot from simply listening and watching and asking good questions.