Strategies for Getting the Audience Involved in Your Presentation

Written by promotiondept

September 27, 2018

Last Updated: Sep 30, 2011
Getting your audience to participate in your presentation will make your message more readily received and more memoble. Here are three DON’TS and seven DO’S for getting your audience involved.

The most successful speaking events involve far more than from the speaker, however stimulating his or her content and delivery might be. Speeches that gb and keep attention, stimulate agreement, and genete the speaker’s desired results hen only when the presenter mixes with intection. Although audiences in prior genetions might have been content with sitting passively and listening stoically for extended periods, contempory listeners are more likely to prefer participating openly and energetically.

At the outset, let’s observe three of the trite intective attempts your audience will consider obsolete and distasteful, because they have heard them all before, and because they sound more suitable for an elementary classroom than a group of professional leaders.

ONE: Immediately following the introduction, the speaker says, “Good morning.” Automatically, audience members repeat her words. The speaker chides the group, “Oh come on, I’m sure you can do better than that. What’s the matter, not wide awake yet? Now let me hear a big-time ‘Good Morning’ from you. Say it loud and clear!”

Instantly, the speaker has demonstted lack of creativity, relying on an opening people grew weary of years ago.

TWO: During the speech, the speaker says: “I’ll bet some of you in here have worked with people you have had difficulty communicating with. Am I right? Hold up your hand if that has hened in your work place.”

Here again, there’s no novelty or . Even those who lift their hands are prone to think, “Been there, done that.”

THREE: To get people talking to one another and revved up, a motivational speaker instructs: “Turn to somebody you haven’t met yet, introduce yourself, and then say to each other, ‘You’re a terrific person with great talent, and I like you already.’”

Main problem here: Even though you have gotten every audience member to speak to a stnger, chances are strong they don’t believe what they just s. Why should they? Silently, the word “hokey” probably comes to mind.

Now let’s look at positive steps to get your audience involved meaningfully.

First, publicize your presentation as a participatory event. Have your host announce in letters and e-mails, “Our keynote speaker will bring us a highly intective presentation about how we can strengthen our customer service.” Encouge your host to repeat that description in every reminder.

Second, weeks before your speech, solicit opinions about your topic and its relevance to the organization. Here’s how: From your host, get the names, phone numbers, and e-mail addresses of at least four of the group’s most respected members. Ask your host to alert them that you will contact them. During your conversations, say: “What you just s would help me get an important point across during my presentation. During my speech, could I please call on you to repeat what you just s to me?” Fortunately, almost everyone will consent. This guantees that sevel key people will stand and speak, which will prompt others to voice their res.

Third, tell your host which seating arngement will foster discussion. Avoid tditional theatre seating, where people see the back of the heads in front of them, ther than faces. Ideally, aim for round tables seating 5-7 people. While many attendees would be too reticent to speak in front of 300 audience members, thoughts at a small table won’t seem intimidating.

Fourth, have your host furnish necessary materials, such as pens, pencils, and note pads. This way you won’t cause disorder when you say, “The group at each table has ten minutes to make a list of seven ments the company can make in our monthly staff meetings.”

Fifth, keep PowerPoint reliance to a mum percentage of the presentation time. Yes, PowerPoint has advantages, such as reinforcing your main points and showing colorful illusttions. Still, the audience cannot focus on the screen and relate to each other at the same time.

Sixth, remind your audience in your opening comments that you expect them to join in. “Every announcement you read about my presentation emphasized that this session will be intective. That means you will do more than just sit and listen. There’s no way I came here with all the best ideas about our topic, so I’m eager—along with your organization’s leaders—to have your help in facing tough issues, solving proble, and charting fresh directions.”

Seventh, every time you hear a report from a table group or a recommendation from an individual, answer with reciation and support. Remember, even a well meaning, lighthearted sarcastic remark could sound demeaning. Even though you smile and chuckle when you quip, “Now where did you get a czy idea like that?” the audience could assume you are belittling the responder. Always react with upbeat isals like these: “Great idea, tell us what would be the first step we should take to make that hen.” “That’s a novel sttegy, one I haven’t heard from any other group. How could we implement your suggestion within the next month or two?”

For a review of how to make audience participation attctive and meaningful: publicize your event as intective, get acquainted with identified leaders and solicit their input, ask your host to place the attendees in small groups and give them essential writing materials, use PowerPoint sparingly, remind the group at the outset that you want their involvement, and use genuine compliments when participants get involved.

Bill Lampton, Ph.D., Consultant, Speech Coach, and Keynote Speaker, “Helping Corpotions and Leaders Communicate Persuasively.” Call Dr. Lampton: 678-316-4300 or visit his website:



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