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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


    SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® is a Group Decision support system which uses wireless keypads to collect opinions from groups on various issues and subjects in a totally anonymous format. SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® runs in six languages – English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Italian. Questions are displayed for the group and participants are prompted to enter their answers by pressing the appropriate key on their keypad. A histogram or pie chart is then displayed showing the votes cast and the Average result for the group. Results can then be analyzed in various ways through SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP®, by exporting to Spreadsheet Format or by using Sharpe Decisions® Reporter.

    Meeting participants answer demographic questions which allow for an unlimited number of Stakeholder Groups to be registered. These demographic Groups allow the analysis of results to be done in finer detail since participants can be registered into any category such as employment level, location, gender or a combination of any category that applies. Results can then be shown by stakeholder either in numerical or chart form. Comparisons of opinion on policy, etc. can then be made between different groups in the organization very easily.

  • How is SDEW Used?

    SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® is a multi-purpose voting and analysis tool. Risk Managers use our systems for instant feedback and Risk Mapping in Risk Workshops. Strategic Planning meeting facilitators use SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® to allow the equal participation of the Executive Team in making decisions vital to the Corporation. Market Research Companies use it in Focus Groups to get honest opinions on new products and slogans so that the sponsoring corporation can plan its future. Conference planners see the value of SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® because of the instant results obtained through polling a specialized group either on industry trends and practices or on the organization of the conference that year. Speaker evaluations and/or questions regarding content are also valuable.

    We hope that you enjoy using this product and make the best use of it in your future meetings and conferences.

  • What kind of keypad hardware does SDEW operate with?

    SDEW operates with Fleetwood, Clikapad and Sunvote Radio Frequency Keypads and receivers. There are two Fleetwood models we are compatible with: the Standard Reply series and the Reply EZ series.

  • What Kind of Questions Can I Ask With SDEW?

    Multiple Choice - Example: Where are you from? 1) Canada 2) USA 3) Europe
    Multiple Choice Questions can have up to 19 choices per question
    Multiple Choice Questions can be Subject related or used for Demographic Data and, if Demographic, can be used to cross-tab through other vote results

    Rating Scale – Example: How Important is Internet Security to our Corporation?
    Scale: 1 – 5 Labels: 1) Not at all 3) Somewhat 5) Very Important
    Rating Scale Questions can have a scale to a maximum of 1 – 10.

    Rank Ordering – Used to put a number of Items in Order of Priority

    Relationship Modeling – Used to show Relationships between Items. Good for “Root Cause” workshops.
    Example: Does “Computer Viruses” affect “Obsolete Software”? Yes or No

    Analytic Ranking - The facilitator uses SDEW’s Analytic Ranking feature to present pairs of alternatives, to ask whether alternative A is more or less important than B. Each individual in the room records their judgment confidentially, using a keypad. The facilitator may ask for discussion of the relative merits of the specific pair, as the judgment is made. SDEW allows voters to change their vote at any time until the voting is complete.

  • What are your System Requirements and Recommendations?

    • Computer with Windows XP, Vista or 7
    • 2 GHz processor or better
    • 2.5 Gigabytes of RAM or better
    • 2 Gb of Hard Disk Space available
    • Radio Frequency Base Receiver
    • Sharpe Decisions Hasp (dongle)
    • LCD Projector
    • Uninterruptible Power Supply
    • Power Bar and Extension Cord
    • Floppy Disks
    • Duct Tape – to place over cables on the floor to avoid trip hazards.
  • How do I connect my Equipment?

    • The computer can be on or off
    • Attach the antennas to the Receiver (RF only)
    • Plug your Radio Frequency or Infra-red receiver into an electrical outlet.
    • Connect the receiver to the serial port on the PC.
    • Turn on the computer and let it finish the boot process
    • Turn on the receiver and ensure the LED light is on.
    • Open SDEW
  • What is the HASP?

    The Hasp or “dongle” is a small software security device that plugs into the parallel printer port or USB port of your computer. Without it you may vote in Simulation only.

  • How do I Install the HASP?

    To enable live voting the Hasp must be plugged into the printer or usb port on your computer. SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® installs the Hasp Software automatically. Ensure that the Hasp is connected when running live keypad voting. Connect your printer cable to the back of the Parallel Hasp once it is installed in your computer’s printer port.

  • How do I Install the Software?


    •     1. Uninstall any previous versions of SHARPE DECISIONS®EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® using the "Add or Remove Programs" control panel.
    •     3. Open the CD drive from My Computer, if the CD window does not open automatically on your desktop.
    •     4. Double-Click on the SDEW Install File icon
    •     5. Follow the prompts.
    •     6. A System Prompt will indicate that the software was installed successfully.
    •     7. Remove the SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® CD ROM from your CD ROM drive.
  • How does SDEW Work with Printers?

    SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® requires that a printer driver be installed and selected as default on your computer system. Without a printer installed on your system SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® will not run. Please check under “Settings” and then “Printers” to ensure that you have a default printer chosen.

  • My Receiver won’t Work! What do I do?

    Check cables and power connections

    If there are problems communicating with the Receiver check that other communications software is not interfering. The serial port may need to be freed up from a docking station, fax software or a second mouse.

    If you have an Electronic Scheduler (i.e. hand-held PDA) that backs up to your computer make sure that the software is disabled before attempting to communicate with your Receiver. Electronic Schedulers use the Serial Port for their docking station and their software disallows any other hardware to be detected.

  • What about Radio Interference?

    Very few types of radio frequencies interfere with the Receiver Ex: Sonar

  • What is the Voting Response Time?

    The maximum time the vote will take to come into the SHARPE DECISIONS® EXECUTIVE WORKSHOP® software after the button is pressed on the keypad is 2.5 seconds. Votes can take longer due to participants’ hesitation in making their choice.

  • Why Is The Window Flashing On My Key Pad?

    • If the LED window flashes repeatedly the battery needs to be replaced but it will last until the end of the meeting.
    • If the LED window flashes slowly (once every 2 seconds), try moving the keypad to another location in the audience, or closer to the Receiver.
    • If replacing the battery doesn’t solve the problem replace the keypad with a spare and return the keypad to Sharpe Decisions for testing and repair.
  • How Far Away From The Receiver Can A Keypad Be And Still Transmit My Vote?

    150 Feet from any position in the room

  • Where Should I Set Up the Receiver?

    At the front of the room facing the participants. Preferably raised up on a table.

  • My Managers Vote was not Received. What do I do?

    If the LED window stays on and never blinks the frequency setting of the keypad has gone out of sync. This can happen if the keypad has been dropped hard too many times. Please contact Sharpe Decisions Inc.® for repair.

  • None of the Keypads are Working Properly. They aren’t Sending Responses to the Receiver.

    • 1.  Is the Receiver plugged in? Is the red light on?
    • 2.  Check the connections between the receiver and the computer. Use the thumb-screws to secure the cable.
    • 3.  Turn the receiver off, wait 5 seconds and turn it back on, then retest.
    • 4.  Does the COM: port settings in the \windows\ars.ini file match the port number the interface is connected to?
    • 5.  Make sure that another piece of software, such as PDA software is not holding the port.
    • 6.  Replace the serial cable between the Receiver and the computer.
    • 7.  Replace the Receiver with a spare
    • 8.  If a second serial port is available on the computer, switch the serial cable to that port and change the COM: port settings in the ars.ini file. Reboot the computer and retest the keypad system.
    • 9.  Replace the computer with a spare unit.
  • Why is my LCD Projector Picture Poor Compared to my Computer Screen?

    • Make sure the projector settings are the same as those on the computer monitor.
    • Monitor screens may be VGA, SVGA and XVGA and refers to the screen size support. VGA supports up to 640 by 480; SVGA supports up to 800 by 600 and XVGA supports up to 1024 by 768 resolution.
    • For full screen and best clarity use the computer's best resolution setting. Set up the computer display at its best setting and use an LCD projector that supports the same resolution.
  • How do I Put a Picture on the Voting Screen?

    To display a picture with your Question click on the Picture Button at the top of the Questions Table. Choose a picture from the Art Folder or point to any picture you may have on your hard disk that is a GIF (for drawn graphics, cartoons, etc.) or JPEG (for photographs) file. The picture will appear in your Vote screen for that Question.

  • How do I Check my Serial Port Configuration?

    Most computers are sold with at least one Serial (COM) Port configured for use with printers, modems and devices such as the Receiver

    • 1.   From the Control Panel, select the System Icon.
    • 2.   The System Properties dialog appears.

    Have devices been added to your computer? Trouble shooting hardware conflicts is best done by qualified technicians familiar with your system, its configuration and your needs.

  • Why is there a Red X by my COM Port?

    • Your COM Port has been disabled.
    • Try to enable it by selecting the Port and then Click  the Properties button, read the device usage section at the bottom and ensure that no disable options are checked.
    • After rebooting test the changes.

    NOTE: Often a port is disabled from installing another device and to avoid a conflict the port was set to disabled. Enabling the disabled COM port may cause a conflict with another device. Check the System Properties again to verify there are no conflicts.

  • Why is there a Yellow Exclamation Mark by my COM PORT?

    Your COM Port is not configured or installed properly or it is in conflict with the settings of another device.

  • When can I Expect a New Version of Sharpe Decisions Executive Workshop

    Sharpe Decisions Inc.® sends out upgrades to its clients two to three times a year.

If the answer you need is not here, or you have ideas on how our product could be improved, please contact 613-258-7059 or e-mail This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


+1 (613) 258-7049


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