Unless you simply want to give a presentation for the sake of giving one or you’re being forced to, you want your presentation to be less of a talk or lecture and more interactive. Do you want to know how to make this happen? Below are 7 tricks presenters use to deliver interactive presentations:
Before your presentation:
1) Prepare yourself.
The process of creating an interactive presentation begins before you face your audience. As interactivity is a two-way process, you should prepare yourself to feel confident and ready to engage and genuinely serve the needs of your participants. Adapt a flexible attitude that will allow you to improvise. This mindset enables you to focus on the audience instead of your presentation or script.
2) Prepare your materials and setting.
Offer various engaging collaborative learning modules for participants to interact with. Be creative and use materials that engage multiple senses. However, make sure that these will serve your purpose and not be sources of distraction. Consider using music, something tangible for the audience to pass around and feel, or adding video to your presentation. See to it that these materials are easily accessible and visible to everyone in the room. Likewise, ensure that your venue is suitable for your presentation so the audience can easily participate in your activities and interact with one another.
3) Utilize social media.
Nowadays, social media sites like Twitter can stir up excitement for upcoming presentations through the use of hashtags. Similar tools are serving as backchannels to engage the audience. Some presenters use SurveyMonkey to conduct polls that will give them an understanding of their audience. And even during presentations, it’s no longer uncommon to make use of online streaming where the audience can click on hyperlinks and ask questions or comment on the topic in real-time.
During your presentation:
4) Ensure equal participation from your audience.
This can be a bit tricky as the type of audience involvement you initiate will depend on their size. If you’re facing a smaller crowd, you can introduce your topic for the first 10 minutes or so and then have them do small group related exercises. You can even make a game out of your activities and offer prizes as incentives.
If your audience is much larger, you could engage them by asking relevant questions right off the bat. This not only keeps them more engaged, it also allows you to assess their level of interest or expertise about your topic, which will serve to guide the direction and flow of your presentation. You may also conduct call outs in which audience members or a group call things out during your presentation where appropriate. Finally, you can call on select members of the audience without making it too challenging or embarrassing for them. Encourage them to share their personal experiences as many people appreciate this. Give them options for answers to make it easier for them. You can ask what they expect to learn and the questions they have. Compile this information in a flip chart and return to it in the latter part of your presentation.
Nothing is more direct than “YOU” statements, communicating in a personal tone, and avoiding complex jargon. As TED’s “6th commandment” states, do not flaunt your ego. Your audience appreciates it when you speak of your failures as well as your successes. People also love a good story, so deliver your presentation in a story like manner whenever possible. Lastly, don’t use your slides or speech as your script but as a guide.
6) Give your audience the “wow” factor.
Keeping your audience engaged also means wowing them throughout the entire presentation. This can include sprinkling your speech with jokes, anecdotes, or humorous images. Include the element of surprise!
7) Be open to feedback and questions.
Allot adequate time for Q&A towards the end of the presentation, if not during. If you’re presenting various topics, leave room for answering questions before proceeding to the next subject.
By engaging your audience more, not only can you avoid their blank stares or bored expressions, you can also achieve your main goal of actually teaching them something through active participation.
What other creative ways have you employed in your presentations to make them more interactive? Let us know in the comments below.