Tips & Tricks for making the most of your ARS use

Modified on Tue, 26 Apr 2016 at 03:34 PM

Here are some tips and tricks we have compiled that can help you to ensure that your meeting is a success.

Do's & Don'ts

General Audience Response & PowerPoint use

  • Practice. Take some extra time to run through the presentation, test it and make sure you’re comfortable with the timing operating the software.
  • Be consistent. Use the same computer for presenting that you used to create the slideshow. At a minimum, verify that the computer you’re using is running the same version of the software (PowerPoint and EZ-VOTE), or that your presentation has been properly converted to work with the version on the presentation computer. Test it all again.
  • Clear-up the system. Shut down any unnecessary applications. This might also include those residing in the notification area, which might consume memory and processor power or generate pop up messages in the middle of the presentation. We're talking about your Dropbox, Outlook, anti-virus (Norton, McAfee, etc...) and others.
  • Deliver professionally. Don’t forget to turn off your screensaver and power saving settings prior to beginning the presentation.
  • Slide formatting. Use the fonts consistently: two font families, one graphic image or chart per slide and apply the “666 Rule:” 6 words per bullet, 6 bullets per image, and 6 word slides in a row. If you can read the slide from an ‘arm-length’ distance, it will be visible on the big screen, too. Use same colors throughout the deck and for uniformity, use of templates is recommended. Use Guy Kawasaki’s “10/20/30 Rule” (video | separate window | 1:52) if you can: no more than 10 slides, last no more than 20 minutes and no font smaller than 30 points.



  • Don’t use a USB stick. USB flash drives are great for moving a presentation from machine to machine, but you should always RUN it from a copy residing on the hard drive of your computer.
  • Don’t panic. Expect AutoRecovery to kick in during the slideshow and audience polling. This may create a short lag, which is normal. When the AutoRecovery is complete, move forward in your presentation as usual. You can also turn the AutoRecovery (AutoSave) off in PowerPoint File menu, under Options --> Save.
  • In many cases, less is more. Keeping the wording and other elements of an interactive polling slide to a minimum will keep your audience focused on your question and your presentation running smoothly.
  • Plug in early. Test connection. Plug your Meridia receiver into your computer prior to launching PowerPoint. After launching PowerPoint, verify that the base is being recognized by looking in the “Base Manager” menu.
  • Save Early, Save Often! This should go without saying and it applies to any work on a computer. Save between presentations, breaks and other interruptions, but definitely right after the presentation is over. Remember, EZ-VOTE stores the data inside the PPTX file, so save it as a new file.
  • Maintain single Slide Master. Avoid PowerPoint presentations that have more than one Slide Master layout. EZ-VOTE uses a particular slide layout from the Master ‘deck’ for its ARS slides and multiple Slide Masters cause it to pick the wrong one.
  • Wireless “clickers.” “Targus AMP16US Wireless Presenter with Laser Pointer (2.4G)” may be the only wireless remote that we know causes a COM port interference with our ProVOTE Classic USB receiver. Please avoid using it.
  • Don’t use hyperlinks on ARS slides. Using hyperlinks on your non-interactive slides is OK, but remember that mouse clicks and keyboard commands are translated by EZ-VOTE (on ARS slides) as polling commands. For example, mouse click either closes polling, or starts a countdown. Another mouse click moves the slideshow forward. On these slides, hyperlinks will not work as expected.

Hardware Setup

  • Turn off any wireless networks (Wi-Fi and Bluetooth). Meridia receiver is able to ‘jump around’ any other 2.4GHz frequency and deliver the votes accurately and in a timely manner, but... The less interference there is to work around, the better and faster the results will be.
  • Elevate your receiver. Walls, shelves, human bodies all act as a sponge. They ‘consume’ some of the wireless signal, so... The straighter the line of sight from the keypads to the receiver, the better the results. That being said, your ARS system is radio-based, thus will work in the general vicinity of the receiver.
  • Distance your receiver away from other electronics. Each piece of A/V or computer equipment emits ‘electronic noise’. That’s why they tell you not to sleep in the room with a computer, or with a phone by your bedside. We avoid this noise with the FHSS technology, but everything can be improved, right? The less electronic equipment there is close to your ARS computer, the faster polling results will be.

If you're having trouble installing the USB receiver (base), or EZ-VOTE is not recognizing it, your system may not have the required drivers, or you may not have the sufficient rights to install them.


Please contact your IT or consult this article.

Tips from other experts

We have done many thousands of meetings and improved on the use of audience response technology, as well as PowerPoint, but there are other experts out there, who have shared their useful tips on how to present and not to fail while doing it. Please feel free to take their words for it. 

Presenting with PowerPoint - (web page) by Microsoft Support

10-20-30 Rule - (video | 1:52) by Guy Kawasaki. Great way to structure and format your presentation for maximum clarity and effectiveness.​

Life After Death by PowerPoint (video | 9:29) by Don McMillan. A fun way to look at "Death by PowerPoint" - a symptom of a boring, unstructured, and completely ineffective presentation.​

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