“We all spend too much time in meetings that are unproductive, boring, and unfocused. Keypad polling, if used right, can have a transformative effect on participation. David and Matthew have done a great service to everyone who cares about getting the most from their gatherings. Their book is a clear guide for how this important technology can create better meetings.”
Joe Goldman, President, The Democracy Fund
“Read the Room For Real is a must read for meeting organizers who truly want meaningful community participation and engagement among participants.”
Ray Colmenar, Senior Program Manager, The California Endowment
“David Campt and Matthew Freeman are well known as the foremost experts on the use of audience response systems to enhance meeting quality and public engagement. In this book, they have collected and shared numerous critical insights from their vast experiences over the years, and clearly make the case for the value audience polling can add to a wide variety of contexts. Their “SPEIK” model clearly represents the state of the art, and has set a new standard that will push the field to new heights.”
Martín Carcasson Founder and Director Colorado State University Center for Public Deliberation
“Keypad polling offers yet another way to make the most of people’s time in deliberating on today’s toughest public issues. David and Matthew are masterful at explaining in
an accessible way keypad polling and its many uses. Thanks to them, we all have an enhanced civic toolbox.”
Martha McCoy, Executive Director, Everyday Democracy
“The authors are both experienced designers, organizers, and facilitators of all kinds of public engagement, and so the book is a trove of practical guidance for using speed polling in a variety of situations. Campt and Freeman also delve into some of the larger, thornier questions about the limits and potential of speed polling, and engagement itself; they do this in a way that is both insightful and pragmatic. Read the Room for Real is an essential guide for engagement practitioners and scholars alike.”
Matt Leighninger, Executive Director, Deliberative Democracy Consortium
“If you have ever thought about using audience polling to augment your meetings, you need to get this book! The authors have a well-deserved national reputation for creating great group experiences with clickers, and in this book they clearly explain how to create the magic that can happen through facilitating with the technology. The book goes beyond how to make meetings more engaging, but also addresses some benefits of the technology that I had not really considered. I highly recommend Read the Room for Real for anyone in the facilitation business who wants to know more about how to take their meetings to the next level of effectiveness.”
Sandy Heierbacher, Director, National Coalition for Dialogue and Deliberation
"This is not just a book—it is a formula for community engagement that is transformative. If you use it you can change people and places.”
Edward J. Blakely, Former Director of Recovery, City of New Orleans
“We have witnessed firsthand how the appropriate use of technology can help activate and engage citizens in large public gatherings. This book is a practical tool for getting the most out of your meetings, and for using essential data gathered to better guide the process,”
Kristin Williams, The Sherwood Foundation
"Running a meeting is truly the oldest - if not the least popular - profession in the world. This riveting book will make anyone running a meeting buzz with new ideas - and get thanked for their work. This book will help anyone planning any type of meeting; from energizing staff meetings, to making decisions in schools or communities, to running a family reunion, a business or even a country. New participatory technologies literally electrify learning, dialogue, and decisionmaking, making it easy for people to see and understand others. Any good meeting is about identifying common ground as well as differences in a group. This book revolutionizes how leaders can do that without guessing or presuming how people feel or think.”
Lisa Schirch, Professor, Eastern Mennonite Unversity
"The book clearly reflects the author’s broad experience with technology. It is equally clear that the text is accessible to non-technical practitioners. Dr. Campt uses real world experiences to highlight the subtleties of meeting design and provides a rich set of best practices that are independent of the technology used. His book explores both the advantages and challenges and the transformative nature of this growing trend of engaging participants interactively. A must read for those who design engagements and speeches and those who want to enhance their participation in those gatherings."
Michael Barney, Consultant, Universal Display Corporation
"One of the highest achievements in community engagement in a democracy is to honor the diversity of voices and perspectives that are inherent in any set of relationships and issues. The ability to move from principle to practice is challenging, and requires one’s command of a comprehensive range of “tools” that urge the voiceless or quiet to speak speak and others to create the space hear. This is true whether one is working in small groups, or with thousands of people dispersed over space. Campt’s book provides clear, concise, concrete, and compelling techniques to achieving the art and science of facilitated dialogue. While this book is presumably about leveraging technology to emphasize and increase voice among a plurality of perspectives and positions, there is a greater subtext that emerges to describe why those who convene others to advance community engagement and democratic processes must commit to continued efforts to curate, hone, and sharpen one’s own abilities as a facilitator of real dialogue. Beyond being merely instructive (which it certainly is), this book presents the imperative for why inclusivity matters – and how to achieve this difficult, but essential, goal."
Emily M. Janke, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Peace and Conflict Studies, Director, Institute for Community and Economic Engagement (ICEE), University of North Carolina Greensboro
"I recently had the pleasure of reading an advance copy of Dr. David Campt’s Read the Room for Real. The book is a very effective guide that explains the many ways that audience response polling can improve a variety of types of business meetings and celebratory gatherings. The book was clearly targeted toward people who business it is to create meetings that accomplish defined goals; as someone who has spent a large portion of my adult life serving as a facilitator or convener of gatherings, I read the short book from the perspective of someone in the target audience. If you are somebody who regularly is concerned with the quality of meetings that include over 15 or so people, you will find the book an useful and thought-provoking read.
Campt explains in clear prose why he thinks that integrating audience polling technology within speeches, workshops, and conferences is an innovation that will at some point, become de rigueur within the meetings industry. This will happen, he argues, because if the technology is used skillfully, audience interactive polling adds value to all three major stakeholders for meetings - participants become more engaged, presenters get instant feedback to allow on-the-spot adjustments, and conveners get quantitative data they can act on post-meeting. According to Campt, the key to getting all of these benefits is crafting and sequencing the right questions. He makes this case through clear explanatory prose, buffeted by a plethora of varied examples from his experience. The straightforward prose and examples do a very good job of showing the link between question design and these benefits to meetings.
The author has clearly paid a lot of attention to the subtle but important differences to a meeting in the way that a question is phrased or the sequence of events that take place. Experienced facilitators - who think a lot about meeting design - will recognize this sophistication in how things are explained. To the book’s credit, those who want good meetings but are not design aficionados - such as many meeting planners, speakers, or people who hire meeting specialists - will find the explanations in the book clear and accessible.
The author’s passion for the way the technology improves meetings is clear, and sometimes compelling. While I have my own lingering questions about when and how quickly the technology will disseminate through the meetings profession, the book certainly gives the reader a lot of strategic and practical guidance. When you finish reading it, you will have a clear idea about can be done with the technology so that meetings can have the significant boost that Campt says should become a standard expectation.
One unexpected section of the book is its discussion of the way audience polling can be deployed at social gatherings, such as birthday parties, family or school reunions, or networking mixers. The book makes it easy to envision how the technology could add to a a fun and celebratory atmosphere at these types of events. But the most important contribution of the book may be in the way Campt conveys that the audience polling is not simply a gimmick to create simplistic engagement, but rather weapon in the arsenal of meeting designers who are trying to actually shift their mindset of people who attend gatherings. The technology, is Campt argues, can be used to help shift participants’ attention from thinking about their own opinions, to seeing themselves in the context of the group, and then to expanding their view even further by focusing energy on question of how opinions get shaped. He makes the good case that this change of focus that polling engenders is essence of open-mindedness and productive dialogue.
While there are some books on audience polling for educators, this is the first book about audience polling I know of that is aimed at people who think about non-educational meetings. Others will likely come along at some point, but Campt has gotten this sub-field off to an auspicious beginning."
Wayne Winborne, Executive Director, Jazz Foundation of America
" I recommend Read The Room for Real, by Dr. David Campt, to anyone who dislikes boring and unproductive meetings and wants to do something to make them better. As one who has organized and facilitated large meetings all around the country during the past 30 years, I believe that the audience response technology (ART) that Dr. Campt’s explains in this book is the most exciting new development I have seen. Facilitators, as well as speakers and conference planners, can now create meetings that clearly identify what participants know, what they think and what they want to do. As a result, it easier than ever to create lively, interactive meetings that produce specific results.
Read the Room for Real provides a clear explanation of the advantages of audience response technology as well as many specific suggestions for how it can be used with different audiences. Dr. Campt has broad experience using technology to improve meetings and he offers helpful examples from his own work that can be applied in different situations. The book gives guidance on broad conceptual questions relating to meeting design as well as nuts and bolts issues such as how to craft and sequence the questions that you use. A book like this is sorely needed and, as far as I know, Dr. Campt is the first one to bring this type of insight and advice together in one place.
I have been using ART regularly in my work during the past few years and cannot overstate the positive results. The meetings I facilitate which use ART are livelier, more interesting and more productive. People really enjoy using the keypads to express their views and it keeps them effectively engaged—even in long meetings. At the same time, the elected officials I often work with love ART because it gives them more information than they have ever had about what their constituents like, do not like and what they want to see happen. If you are interested in improving the quality of the meetings you organize or facilitate, then you need to look for ways to use ART in your work. And, if you decide to use ART, you should get a copy of Read the Room for Real and start learning from Dr. Campt who probably knows more about how to use this technology effectively than anyone else in the country."
Theo Brown, Founder, Project Victory