Keeping your audience’s attention for extended periods can be one of the most difficult challenges when speaking in front of a large group. Many presenters, I’m sure, have caught audience members scrolling through their phones, daydreaming, or otherwise not paying attention.
Let’s face it, we’ve all sat through dull meetings and come away feeling completely bored and uninspired. Or maybe you dozed off at a boring conference or event.
I’m going to share some tips on how to make an engaging presentation by incorporating audience participation and as well data visualization in PowerPoint.
Here are some simple things you can do to enable your audience to participate in your presentation by making it more interactive:
- Break the ice.
A simple icebreaker can bring everyone together and energize them for your presentation. Request that your audience performs a simple exercise to reset their minds and refocus on your presentation. For instance, ask people to stand and introduce themselves to their neighbours, or have them identify two or three questions they’d like to hear answered during your presentation.
- Tell stories.
Storytelling is the most universal way to capture the attention of your audience, regardless of where they are from or what they do for a living. When you begin telling your story, people are drawn in because they want to know what happens next.
- Pose questions to the audience.
Yes, ask them questions, but don’t single out specific members of the audience. You allow them to interact, making them feel like they are a part of the presentation and the value creation process. This is also beneficial to the presenter because it provides useful insights and data about the audience.
- Questions with multiple choice answers
A versatile question type that is also a great way to collaborate with the general public. For multiple-choice questions, the possibilities are endless; you could use them for audience testing, reflection, or even a fun game to increase participation.
- Involve videos.
When it comes to giving an engaging presentation, videos are an excellent tool. Videos can elicit emotions in an audience that would otherwise be difficult to elicit. Find a clip that will put your audience in a good mood while also reinforcing your story.
- Embrace the power of non-linear presentation.
Instead of flipping through slides, you can show the connections between your ideas and provide your audience with a “big picture” view of your topic. Allow your audience to drive the presentation by laying out all of your main points and then allowing them to choose which topics they want to focus on.
- Use humour
Displaying your personality and humour can help to lighten the mood and establish a good rapport with the audience. The audience is more likely to remember you if you cheer them up, which causes them to remember your ideas and key points.
- Make eye contact.
It gives you a strong stage presence and can help you deliver your message more effectively. Making and maintaining eye contact makes it feel much more personal and intimate as if you are speaking directly to that person.
- Effective language
Using motivating language and adjusting your tone of voice to your advantage can have an impact on how you impact and influence your audience. The language you use must also be appropriate for the presentation’s tone and style.
- Allow the audience to ask questions anonymously.
Allowing the audience to ask questions whenever they have them gives them a chance to speak up and feel as if their opinion is valued. This enables and encourages people to contribute by allowing them to share anonymously, thereby increasing learning.
- Share the presenting role
Share the stage with other presenters or audience members to assist you in narrating the story and making the presentation more interactive overall. Prepare ahead of time; you wouldn’t want to surprise someone at the very last minute or in the middle of a presentation!
This will help your audience in remaining focused, recalling your main points, and allowing you to deliver an effective, engaging presentation.