However, many presenters, even the best of them, get trapped in a “presentation bubble”. They get caught up in their thoughts and forget to cater to the audience in real time.
You may be so focused on addressing the right points, enunciating clearly, and making eye contact that you completely neglect interaction with the human beings in front of you.
We have become accustomed to a standard type of presentation:
A speaker appears on stage, perhaps asks a question, and maybe walks around a little.
The problem is, however, is that the human brain begins to tune things out after an average of 9 minutes and 59 seconds, no matter how interesting the topic, according to John Medina, researcher and author of Brain Rules. During these 9 minutes, it is imperative that you provide engaging avenues for your listeners to reconnect with you.
Below you will find 3 effective ways to increase audience interaction during your next presentation.
1. Engaging Activities
The most effective way to induce engagement from your audience is prompting them to participate in an activity. Activities compel the audience to perform an action rather than simply listening. When they are assigned a task that involves thinking for themselves, they will feel a sense of contribution. Therefore, the members in the audience will have a stake in your presentation, which will provide them with a feeling of purpose and direction.
For example, Erik Wahl, a famous graffiti artist, asked audience members to demonstrate bravery by performing various activities that required them to step out of their comfort zone. As a reward, he gave away works of art that he painted during his presentation. Everyone wanted one, and Wahl knew that. He kept them engaged by creating suspense and excitement.
The activities you choose can range from simple icebreakers to single-player or multiplayer games. Presenters need to give their audience members the chance to compete, work together, or simply have fun. It is not necessary for these activities to relate directly to your message, but it will certainly help if it does. Your goal is to get people’s blood flowing, mouths talking, and minds working. This will encourage your listeners to be alert and receptive to your message.
2. Live Demos
Getting an audience member to demo a product accomplishes multiple goals: it involves the audience in your presentation, it captures interest and builds suspense, and it demonstrates how other consumers will use your product or service. However, it is important to make sure that the demo works. An audience member on stage can be the biggest advocate or the worst critic of your product when he or she sits down again.
When we consider live demonstrations, no other company does it quite like Apple. For instance, Steve Jobs first revealed FaceTime on the iPhone by calling his friend and colleague Jony Ive. Executing a technological demo successfully can be a magical experience for an audience. However, it can risk your credibility if external factors such as spotty WiFi or malfunctioning equipment prevent it. This is why it is critical to rehearse, rehearse, and rehearse. Additionally, always have a backup plan.
3. Make Your Presentation Available Online
You can also inspire audience interaction by posting your presentation online on websites such as SlideShare and Prezi. This will allow your audience, as well as other users, to view the presentation, leave comments, or even follow along during the talk. Using technology to reach and engage your audience may seem distant or impersonal, but it is a modern approach that has proven to be incredibly effective.
Introducing engaging activities, presenting live demos, and making your presentation available online are a few ways to involve the audience in your presentation. The topic, audience demographics, audience size, venue, and time will determine the way or the degree to which you engage with them.
Incorporating different ways of audience interaction will certainly help you deliver a presentation that will create an experience your audience will always remember.