New to remote working? Make team decisions using a Slack poll.

Remote working is great for many reasons. But making choices as a team can be tough. Here's how we do it.

The world feels like it's on fire right now. We're hearing from a lot of businesses that they're struggling to adapt to their new remote working practices.

No-where is that more evident that when the whole team has to make a choice or when you're trying to engage customers at scale.

The growth in the number of companies using Slack to communicate has completely exploded. They recently announced they had added 7000 new businesses in a month – that's more than they added in the last quarter of 2019 in total.

How do you make decisions remotely?

Slack's got video calling baked in, and a lot of people are adding Zoom into the mix so that they can do better video calls with customers/potential customers.

If you're new to remote working, you'll soon find out that making a decision can be pretty hard when everyone's doing video calls rather than being in a room.

Everyone's talking over each other and even with your neat protocols for how to do a video call, it's just not as easy as when you're mostly in the room together.

And that's before you even factor in the work that you need to do in engaging your customers and leads as part of your business development strategy.

So how do you make decisions as a team when you all work remotely?

Fortunately, real time voting technology has come on a long way in the past few years. And the demand is also surging in this new work landscape.

In fact, 44% of all votes cast in the past 5 years on doopoll happened in the last 6 months.

Running a live poll where everyone can vote with whatever device they have is an incredible way of making a decision.

But how do you do surveys and polls in Slack? Whether you're in human resources, business development or marketing, Slack is a brilliant channel to ask your team what they think.

And some live poll tools can even capture data outside of Slack too.

What's the right method for me?

There's so many ways to make a decision using a live poll in Slack. Here are the three most common ways to do create a poll on Slack:

  1. Create a live poll for free on doopoll and then post the link in Slack so that you can collect answers from your team, but also from anyone else who you want to send the link to.
  2. Use emoji reactions on a message to do this. Make the emoji be the options (i.e. :red light: = no, :green light: = yes – each time a person votes they'll increment the number and you'll see results live.
  3. Use any one of the million Slack specific voting apps that are in the Slack App Directory. Heads up: most of these are only available in Slack – so you can only ask people who are in your workspace.

Let's take a look at the hows, pros and cons of each one now.

Option 1 – Use a free online poll and survey tool like doopoll

Creating a live poll or survey on doopoll takes just minutes and once you're up and running with your account, you'll find whipping up a survey to make a choice over a video call is super simple.

Obviously, having created the product and thinking it's the bee's knees, we're always doing this for decisions at doopoll.

If you haven't created your first live poll on doopoll, here's a simple walkthrough:

Create a free account on doopoll – here's a link to our signup page – this takes two minutes and once you have your account you can create unlimited polls and add unlimited questions free of charge.

Create a new poll from your dashboard – here's a link to the create poll page. Give it a simple title (e.g. Team all hands meeting Monday morning).

Add a couple of questions that you want to ask. Multiple choice works really well for your first question.

When you've got your poll questions, send out your link to your team

Your respondents can vote on any device they have right in the browser. And you can choose to make it anonymous or collect email addresses if you need to know who's who.

Poll results come in in real time on doopoll. So don't forget to watch the results screen for your poll.

Doing a Slack poll with doopoll has a whole bunch of advantages over the other methods we'll talk about here. For example:

  • You don't need to install any apps to Slack – you just share the survey link in the relevant Public Channel, DM or Private Channel
  • You can ask as many questions as you want in one meeting – other ways to do Slack polls only let you ask one at any one time which is, frankly, a rubbish experience for everyone
  • Real time results are great fun to watch – and because it's so visual you can share the results with anyone who wasn't in the meeting later as a kind of record of what happened.
  • You can also ask open text questions – which allows you to get more in depth insights or collect questions from the team for later discussion
  • Need more input from stakeholders – you can share the survey link with people who aren't in your team too and get their opinion. That's something none of Slack apps do and provides massive value.

We'll look at more options below but before that, here's a quick summary of how you can do a live poll via video conferencing tools like Zoom, Google Hangouts or Slack video calling.

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Tech advice

How should you set up your video call to use this?

It couldn't be more simple to make this work in practice. Here's how we do it at doopoll and how all our customers do it already. We'll be using Zoom but the principles are the same for almost every video conferencing tool.

Load the presenter view for your poll on your computer

The presenter view lets you share your results with your team in a visual way. It's made for big screen presentations but works perfectly for screenshares too.

Here's an example of how it looks:

When you're ready, start screensharing

When you get to the point in your meeting that you're asking your team members to vote on something, start screen sharing to the Presenter view.

In Zoom, that's a couple of clicks. In Slack, it's just one!

Here's a video of how to share your screen in Zoom:

Done for the minute? Switch back to video

Video conferencing tools are brilliant because of the control you have over what everyone sees. You can switch repeatedly between screensharing and video from your webcam.

This also gives you an opportunity to add more questions while the rest of the team is discussing the next item on the agenda.

Pro tip: with doopoll, when you add new questions, your team will get an alert on their browser to say there's something to answer. There's no need to refresh the page. This means that it's super easy to have a genuine dialogue with your colleagues and staff.

Option 2 – Use a Slack specific voting app

There are millions in the Slack App Directory. These apps directly link into Slack and are good if you have only one question but usually only allow you to ask a single question at a time with one channel and only within Slack.

So if you need to get opinions from people who aren't in your Slack workspace – they won't be able to take part in the live poll.

Pros

  • Easy to install
  • Good for a quick bit of fun

Cons

  • Can't be shared with people outside your workspace – that means no input from your customers, suppliers, stakeholders and more
  • Quickly get lost in the speed of the channel – if 10 people type a message into the channel, you're going to lose all the information because you're scrolling so much. Instead use option 1 and get an easy to find record of decisions.
  • Limited in the question types you can ask

Option 3 – Emoji polls 

One 100% native and zero setup option for creating polls is to use the Emoji reactions as 'votes'.

If you have a just-for-fun poll that you have to ask the whole team, these can be good throw away polls.

Use a new message as the question and then make the emoji be the options (i.e. :red light: = no, :green light: = yes).

Each time a person votes they'll increment the number and you'll see results live.

Pro tip: you can add a quick emoji reaction to any message by typing a '+' before the emoji you want to add.

Pros

  • Fun to do
  • No installation necessary

Cons

  • Not good for serious team votes
  • No way to 'unpublish' the question – once it's live, it's live.

Which one is right for me?

If you're serious about facing the decision making challenges that remote working presents, using a live polling tool like doopoll will be the best option for your company. It's easier for your colleagues to use and is way more flexible than any other method.

Get started with a free account here.

However, if you're just looking for a quick poll about your team's next lunch preferences, then voting with a hotdog in an emoji reaction poll will work just fine!