Awesome Presentations

20 ways to make your presentation more interactive

Olivia Hanifan07 of October, 2019

10 mins

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Keeping your audience's attention for long periods of time can be one of the biggest challenges whilst speaking in front of a crowd. I’m sure many presenters have caught audience members scrolling through their phones, daydreaming and not fully paying attention. Let’s face it, we have all sat in mundane meetings and felt completely bored and uninspired afterwards. Or perhaps, even drifted off at a dull conference or event.

As the presenter, looking at a sea of faces who look mind-numbingly bored will only make you more nervous, talk faster and try and get the presentation over with asap, which is not going to help you effectively deliver your message. Not only can interacting with your audience help them to understand what you are saying, they are also more likely to retain the information and pay attention.

The best way to keep your audience focused and interested is to engage and interact with them. So, we have compiled the ultimate list of ways to make your presentation interactive:

1. Break the ice

The perfect starting point is to ask a straightforward question that will warm up the audience. The best way to do this it to ask a question that everyone can answer e.g. an anonymous question about themselves. A simple task will help the audience to focus on the presentation and tune into what you have to say. Moreover, it will help you to relax before you get into the main body of the presentation and deliver your most important points. Check out some icebreaker templates.

2. Use a straightforward presentation

Set out your presentation in a clean, simple and not too fussy way. Otherwise it could end up being distracting and overwhelming for the audience causing them to not listen and ignore you.

3. Ask the audience questions

Yes ask them questions, but don’t pick out particular audience members. By using an online tool such as Mentimeter you give them the opportunity to interact, making them feel part of the presentation and part of 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.

4. Multiple choice questions

A versatile question type and a great way to collaborate with the public. The question options are limitless for multiple choice, you could use them for testing the audience, reflection, or even for a fun game making them even more likely to participate.

5. Poll Questions

These type of questions are an effective way to make your audience think about their answer instead of just choosing an option that you have given them. It helps to make the audience feel as if they are part of creating the best presentation experience. Everyone feels involved and there is no pressure as people can answer anonymously.

6. Quiz

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 learnt. If you want some quiz inspiration, check out our quiz competition templates.

7. Use humour

Showing your personality and sense of humour can lighten the mood and build a good rapport with the crowd. The audience are more likely to remember you if you make them laugh and in turn remember your ideas and key points.

8. Eye contact

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.

9. Body language

Your gestures and body posture are particularly significant to the air you give off and 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.

10. Effective language

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 presentation. So whether it is formal or informal and the audience’s demographic is important to make sure you don’t use too technical or not technical enough terms.

11. Add visuals and audio effects

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.

12. Use videos

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, 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.

13. Allow audience to ask anonymous questions

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.

14. Raise your hand questions

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.

15. Use social media

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.

16. Give the audience more control

Giving the audience the control the access to 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 like best.

17. Make it personal

By 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.

18. Take a crowd photo

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!

19. Share the presenting role

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 in advance, you don’t want to spring this on someone last minute or mid-way through the presentation!

20. Use props

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 are read at with bullet points on the screen. It also allows them to visualize what you are talking about.

In order 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 focussed, enable them to recall your main points and in turn allow you to deliver an effective, engaging presentation.

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Posted by Olivia Hanifan07 of October, 2019
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