3 Ways to use Ranking Polls to Engage Audiences

Ranking polls, where delegates are required to arrange a list of options in some sort of order, make an interesting alternative to straight-forward multiple choice poll questions.

Mike Piddock, February 20, 2020

Here’s three great ways to use ranking polls in Glisser, and the benefits they’ll offer to your audience and your events as a whole…

  1. Ranking ice-breakers
  2. Ranking subjective options for better decisions
  3. Ranking quizzes to test learning more effectively

Ranking ice-breakers

Coming up with new and interesting ice-breaker questions is important to set your event apart from the rest, and get your audience onboard right from the very start of the first session.

Ranking questions give you a whole new pool of ideas to choose from, and are great because they get the audience really thinking about their order of preference, engaging different parts of the brain.

As with any ice-breaker poll, you want to select a theme that is universal, to avoid excluding anyone right from the get-go. Popular culture, TV, sports, music or film are all great levellers, and subjects that most people have an opinion on. Some great examples are below…


Ranking subjective options for better decisions

One of the powerful things about ranking polls is that they allow you to take subjective lists and allow your audience to turn them into quantifiable data. This is a really effective way of improving decision making at town hall meetings.

Let’s take an example: Imagine an organization asking its employees about a list of four priorities for the next year:

Now let’s assume that the audience are really strongly opinionated (both for and against) one answer - moving the office to Bali. For many people it would be a family upheaval, so they rank it last, but for others it’s a dream move, and they rank it first.

In a normal multiple choice poll, this option would receive 50% of the vote from the people that are heavily ‘pro’ the office move. The other three options would receive 16.6% of the vote (a third of the remaining options) and the decision would be made to move the office.

However, under a ranking poll, those against the office move would be able to strongly vote it last in their list. The ranking algorithm would reduce its overall score, and the company would make a fairer decision.

Ranking quizzes to test learning more effectively

Our final scenario involves audience response being used for a training session, to gauge the effectiveness of the material just presented and the teaching technique used.

Simple multiple choice tests can sometimes favour certain people capable of quickly memorising simple information, such as dates, numbers or lists of facts. Simply using these testing mechanisms could bias your scoring in favor of trainees that are mentally ‘wired’ that way, at the detriment of other capable learners that process information differently.

Adding ranking questions offers a more balanced test. For example, rather than asking for the dates of five historical events, ask you delegates to put those events in date order. The ‘number recallers’ will be able to do it from their memory of specific dates, while those with a more narrative way of remembering will benefit from the more ‘story-like’ approach to sharing their answer.


The overall result is a fairer, more-inclusive test and better decision-making and training content design.


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