As a presenter, staring out at a sea of mind-numbingly boring faces will only make you more nervous, talk faster and try and get the presentation over with asap. Certainly not the best way to get an effective and meaningful message across.
Not only can interacting with your audience help them to better understand what you are saying, but they are also more likely to retain the information and pay attention.
Engaging the crowd, no matter if it is big or small, is the best way to keep them focused, interested, and attentive to what it is you're saying. So to help you, we have compiled a definitive list of ways to make your presentation interactive. Obviously, Mentimeter can go a long way to help you make an interactive presentation, I mean, that is what it was designed for. If you want a more comprehensive deep dive into presenting to an audience, you can check out our free public speaking course!
The perfect starting point is to ask a straightforward question that will warm up the audience. This is a simple way to turn your audience from listeners to active participants from the get-go. Moreover, it will help you to relax before you get into the main body of the presentation and deliver your most important points.
Now the beauty of icebreakers is that there is one for every occasion. There are fun icebreakers, silly icebreakers, as well as thought-provoking icebreakers. So decide which type would best suit your presentation and feel free to check out some of our icebreaker templates designed to help inspire you.
Plan out your presentation to be clean, simple to follow, and not too complex. Keep in all essential details and allow the audience to ask about specifics during a Q&A session.
Remember you don’t have to say absolutely everything, just what is needed. Otherwise, it could end up being distracting and overwhelming for the audience, and they may switch off and ignore what you’re saying.
Yes, ask them questions, but don’t pick out particular audience members. By using an online tool such as Mentimeter you allow them to interact, making them feel part of the presentation and the value creation process.
This is also valuable for the presenter as you can gain helpful insights and data about the audience, their experience of the presentation, and any takeaways from it such as ways to improve.
We have a few question types that are perfect for any and every presentation.
If you want to get your audience thinking and debating, then a poll question can spark some lively back and forth. Talk through answers to see what the consensus is or where we differ on opinions.
Word Clouds are a great way to get short succinct answers to any type of question. Word Clouds are a useful way to introduce some brevity to a presentation or to ask something pertinent that requires some thought and reflection.
A quiz competition is an amazing way to have some fun with your audience. The quiz can be used both for educational purposes such as a test, but also just to have a game of trivia. Testing your audience’s knowledge in this way will mean they are more relaxed and also reinforce what they have just heard and learned. If you want some quiz inspiration, check out our quiz competition templates.
Showing your personality and sense of humor can lighten the mood and build a good rapport with the crowd. The audience is more likely to remember you if you make them laugh and in turn remember your ideas and key points.
The power of good eye contact can never be underestimated. It gives you a strong stage presence and can help to effectively deliver your point. Bear in mind that you should try to connect with each section of the audience. You don’t want to just stare at one person making it feel awkward and you look nervous. Establishing and maintaining eye contact gives it a much more personal and intimate feel as if you are talking directly to that person.
Your gestures and body posture are particularly significant to the air you give off and the influence you have. Making sure you are visible and not hiding behind a stand is obvious but something that many nervous presenters do. You need to create a connection with them and standing strong will make you seem more confident and in control, automatically engaging the audience. Gestures that reach out to the audience and techniques such as moving around on stage command the audience’s attention.
Using inspiring language and adjusting your tone of voice to your advantage can affect how you impact and influence the audience. The language you use also needs to match the tone and style of the presentation. So whether it is formal or informal, what the demographic of your audience is, it is important to make sure you don’t use too technical or not technical enough terms.
Simply put, they help to make your talk not so boring. Using music or sound effects will naturally perk the audience up. Music is a great way to bond with the audience as it evokes emotion and can help them to recall presentation ideas.
Images, videos, and even GIFs can add a visual element that will help draw attention back to your slides and give people something else to focus on.
Videos halfway through a presentation are an awesome tactic to refocus the audience. If you see your audience starting to get restless or fidgety, a video can instantly revive and get them interested again. Videos can be a great way to start up a discussion, and reinforce your message, and more often than not, people are more moved and affected when they see a video. Sometimes a video can say much more than words ever could.
Allowing the audience to ask questions whenever they may have one, enables them to have their say and feel as if their opinion is valued. Traditionally, people would not want to raise their hands in front of many people and give their opinion or ask a question. Mentimeter allows and encourages people to contribute by permitting them to share anonymously which in turn increases learning.
It may seem strange but using traditional methods, instead of digital platforms to revive a bored crowd is easy and effective. Using too many digital question tools could be a bit too excessive, so a simple show of hands is an alternative to get everyone involved.
Twitter can be a great tool to use in a presentation to show outside opinions and to get the audience to connect. Introducing a hashtag can encourage people to share their thoughts and ideas during a presentation and continue the discussion after the presentation is finished.
Giving the audience the control by putting the presentation slides in their hands and enabling them to go back to previous slides will be advantageous for them to understand better. Presentation slides are the perfect tool to effectively communicate your message.
By using Mentimeter, the audience can look at the slides on their smartphones, so if there was something they missed or wanted to go back over they can easily do it. This also allows them to participate while you speak and ‘like’ the slide or send a ‘heart’ for example, which is great for you to know which slides the audience likes best.
Telling stories and letting your personality shine through, can make you more relatable to the audience. Storytelling and sharing your personal experiences is the best way to capture and maintain the audience’s attention whilst keeping them entertained. People want to hear what happens next and it will make your presentation more memorable.
A fun way to wake the audience up and get everyone to smile! Smiling is a great pick-me-up and releases endorphins which will put everyone in a better mood! Win-win!
Inviting people and guest speakers on stage is a great way to change the topic, get a new perspective and switch up the presenting style helping to re-engage your audience. Note: plan, you don’t want to spring this on someone last minute or mid-way through the presentation!
This might seem a bit old-fashioned but it can catch the audience’s attention and make it amusing. Using props to your advantage either to demonstrate or reinforce your point will make the presentation more interesting. It is a different approach to the standard ‘lecturing’ presentation style where the audience is read with bullet points on the screen. It also allows them to visualize what you are talking about.
To interact successfully with your audience, the presentation slides should be used in combination with some of the other tips mentioned in this article. This will help your audience to stay focused, enable them to recall your main points, and in turn allow you to deliver an effective, engaging presentation.