Anytime you’re going to go through the effort of making a quality Presentation, it’s safe to assume you want people to listen. Unless your audience engages enough to absorb your key points, there’s really no point in doing the legwork a great presentation requires.
But humans are, well, only human. We have finite attention spans, and our brains can easily disengage from what’s in front of us—including meetings and presentations. As Training Mag reports, 91 percent of business professionals “admitted to daydreaming during the meetings they attend.” Plus, the same study found 39 percent of respondents confessed to falling asleep.
When you deliver a presentation, you’re competing against the clock and humans’ limited attention spans. To capture and keep attention, so as to deliver a truly impactful speech, you need to take every opportunity to actively engage your audience.
Here are four Interactive presentation ideas for making your presentation more interactive for that exact purpose.
Warm up your audience
It’s not always conducive to go from “cold” to “hot” right away—meaning your presentation may start more smoothly if you take the time to get your audience warmed up. A simple icebreaker will usually do the trick because—besides being creative and fun—it gets audience members in the mindset of interacting.
It could be as simple as asking people to use their smartphones to contribute an emoji to a collaborative word cloud. You could ask attendees to describe their mornings in a single word. Or you could gauge how much they know about your topic ahead of time with a quick multiple-choice quiz.
Set an interactive precedent right away
It’s safe to assume your audience will use the first few minutes of your presentation to set their expectations for the rest of it. If they come to believe you’ll be talking at them for the duration of your presentation, they’ll start to settle back into passive observation mode. This is when people begin to check out, feeling they have no role to play beyond audience member.
Instead, try asking for interaction right off the bat. Here’s what one Forbes contributor recommends: “Start your presentation by telling the audience you want their questions and that you expect interaction.”
Establish right away that your presentation will not follow the tired format of a one-way information flow. Rather, you expect your audience to actively participate at key points throughout by asking questions, offering feedback, etc. This will prime your audience to pay better attention, anticipating that they’ll be called upon to interact.
Host a trivia competition
People love to compete. This is why gamification is taking off as a method of engagement in professional contexts. Think back to your school days when the teacher announcing that you’d be reviewing for a test by playing “Jeopardy” or another game would inspire reactions of excitement from your classmates. Making learning fun and competitive is a great way to boost engagement.
Embedding a brief trivia competition into your presentation is a great way to incentivize listeners to pay close attention throughout so they can better retain information. By the time the trivia portion rolls around, people are typically enthusiastic to participate. All you need to play is an audience response system so people can submit answers using their mobile devices.
Tell a story
Dumping a bunch of data on attendees is more likely to overwhelm them than give them a rich understanding of your content matter. It’s especially important to make sure data resonates as more than numbers on a screen. Bring your data to life by using stories to make data more digestible.
An interactive presentation will go a long way in helping your audience stay alert and engaged so they can retain what you tell them.
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