The Top Four Ways To Get Audience Involvement In A Presentation

In the thousands of speeches I've heard very few presenters truly engage and involve the audience.

Remember, even the most disciplined and attentive of audiences will switch off after 20 minutes.

It never ceases to amaze me how many highly intelligent people, who are experts in their field, end up being poor presenters.

They usually have a pattern to their speech. A nervous start with an apology, followed by hiding behind the podium, then a new world record for the number of PowerPoint slides or overheads they can get through in the allocated time and then a mad rush in the last five minutes as they realise they are only half way through their speech!

Sound familiar?

Maybe you've been in this situation many times before as a member of the audience?

Or worse still, been a presenter with this approach?

So how can you involve the audience in new and innovative ways? Here are my Top Four Ways to Get Audience Involvement in a Presentation.

1. ASK A QUESTION.

It is so painfully obvious yet many presentations fail to incorporate this tried and true technique. You can even use this if you are the MC for an event.

A simple question can be a great icebreaker. When planning a speech, work out when and what to ask members of your audience to truly engage and involve them. A good technique is to get the audience to interact with yourself or others by checking their understanding or interpretation of what they've heard so far.

2. PROVIDE AN OPPORTUNITY TO TELL THEIR STORY.

Ask audience members to tell their own stories that highlight the point you are trying to make. This not only customises your message, but makes it more relevant to the audience. Case studies work especially well in this format. This involves the audience personally with the presentation and has each member reflecting on the speech.

3. HAVE FUN.

Audiences love fun and entertainment. Break your presentation up with some fun and games where people are encouraged to loosen up and play. I find that my audience interaction technique of involving the audience in some simple and not too challenging hammer throw warm up exercises works well even for the most cynical and shy of audiences.

The best response I ever had was a series of keynote presentations in the Philippines on branding where audience members had to get in teams and write, script, produce and then perform on stage a 30-second TV commercial for their latest product.

It always amazes me how creative people can be when given permission to compete, have fun and play.

4. PLAN THE NEXT STEP.

One of the most successful ways to engage an audience is to get them to apply new concepts or ideas to their own situation. You can do this by getting them to set some goals or set a simple action plan based on the information you present in your speech.

There are no rules except whatever you do must reinforce the 'essence' of the main message in your speech. This way you can cater for all the kinaesthetic, visual and auditory needs of your audience.

Thomas Murrell MBA CSP is an international business speaker, consultant and award-winning broadcaster. Media Motivators is his regular electronic magazine read by 7,000 professionals in 15 different countries. You can subscribe by visiting http://www.8mmedia.com Thomas can be contacted directly at +6189388 6888 and is available to speak to your conference, seminar or event. Visit Tom's blog at http://www.8mmedia.blogspot.com

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