Work in Japan Advice Board
Watching a presentation can sometimes be a very one-sided experience in business. Recently, there has been a trend towards making interactive presentations. Involving the audience has two main benefits: 1. It keeps their interest and makes the experience more fun and memorable. 2. It makes the presenter’s job more enjoyable and puts some of the responsibility on the audience. It’s mutually beneficial for both parties. Let’s look at some ways you can make your presentation more fun.
Ask For Interaction
First, tell the crowd that you want their participation. It’s important to do this at the beginning so that the audience knows your expectations. Tell them how they will be interacting. Will you ask them questions? Do you want them to ask you questions?
Ask A Great Question at the Beginning to Get People Talking
Many traditional presenters might start by asking a rhetorical question. These questions are meant to get the audience to think about your topic, but doesn’t require an answer. Starting the presentation with a discussion about a question is a great way to set the tone of an interactive presentation. You can also try to get people to give their opinions. This makes people feel like they are part of the presentation and sets the tone for the rest of the experience.
Ask Audience Members to Read From Your Slide
This is a really simple technique borrowed from education and workshops. Ask someone to read a line from your slide and then you can elaborate on the topic. If you do this, it’s good to start right away at the beginning. This will increase attentiveness because everyone knows there’s a good chance they will get called on at some point.
Have a Timeline of Activities
Put small activities, group work, problem solving tasks, and informal polls. This is a great way to help structure the overall “shape” of your presentation. Use the timeline to mark a clear beginning, middle, and end to your talk. Save the most important and dynamic activity for just before the conclusion so that your presentation doesn’t “peak” too soon. This will help to build excitement and suspense.
Keep Moving and Use Props
Making use of the entire stage area is a great way to keep the attention of your listeners. Use slow, deliberate movements to appear confident rather than fast, jerky movements, which appear nervous. Props are great because they add an element of realism. You can even pass the prop through the audience for a more tangible experience.
Use Creative Online Solutions
Lastly let’s look at a few ideas for people who are tech-savvy. These will take a little bit of planning, but they will definitely make you look cool. SlideRocket CEO, Chuck Dietrich, suggests including real-time polls. You can set up a poll at PolEverywhere and the audience can instantly vote with their cell phones. You can view the results any time, even in real time. Twitter is another great tool for real time interaction. The audience can interact with you either by directly tweeting you or better yet, set up unique hash-tag that will neatly archive all comments and questions in one place. Twitter also lends itself well to presentations that are being broadcast or webcast in realtime. As a person who has had to do a lot of public speaking, I can tell you that I use all of these strategies in my presentations. I think these techniques will keep your talks lively and memorable. I hope you enjoy using some of the above ideas to make your presentations more interactive.
Noel Bradshaw is the COO of Rosetta Stone Learning Center and started his career at management consulting firm Accenture. He came to Japan with the JET programme before joining Rosetta Stone Learning Center and has been with the company for 8 years.