Diocese of Virginia’s “Interactive Info Session” of Annual Council

Annual Council in the Diocese of Virginia had a new feature: the Interactive Info Session. From their online resource blog for Clergy and Lay Leaders, Diodocs:

We figured that, with hundred of clergy and lay leaders in the room, it was the perfect information to gather some information in a way that was hopefully energizing and thought-provoking.

So, we put on our thinking hats and put together a list of questions. Then we posed those questions to members of Council, giving folks the opportunity to text responses and see the results displayed in real time.

What was the point of such an exercise? We wanted to get folks talking and thinking, while supplying staff with some data that’s helpful as we move forward in strengthening our priorities and our congregations. And the information we gathered was pretty interesting. Of the electronic responses, for example, 58% of respondents said that the ministry goal of Mission Beyond Ourselves generates the most excitement in their congregations. Over half of the respondents use Facebook and Twitter daily or a few times a week for their congregations’ ministries – while 14% never do. And 5% of our audience claims to contact diocesan staff and bishops so frequently that they have us on speed dial!

The Diocese received so many responses asking about the technology, that they featured the service, Poll Everywhere, in the article along with a few of the lessons learned from their new experience:

Allow plenty of time for discussion. At Council, we were a bit limited in this regard, and found that folks could have used more time at their tables to share feedback and responses.

Find a way to accommodate folks who don’t have texting capabilities.

Provide a mix of multiple choice and open-ended response questions.

Practice before hand to ensure smooth operations!

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