Engaging Your Audience: 7 Techniques for Interactive Presentations

Engaging Your Audience: 7 Techniques for Interactive Presentations

Written by Moli Mishra, In Business, Published On
June 2, 2023

It’s a common sight to see people daydreaming or yawning, scrolling through their phones, checking their watch, disturbing their neighbors, and much more during presentations. The human brain works mysteriously where a few can focus on something for longer periods while a few have an attention span shorter than a goldfish. Since there’s no one-size-fits-all solution, companies need the following techniques to engage their audiences during interactive presentations.

Engaging the crowd in the best ways possible is needed if you want their focus on even the smallest details in your presentation. There is a possibility of you stuttering or getting nervous when you see a sea of faces who’ve already given up listening to the rest of the session. Video presentation tools, icebreakers, asking questions and having live polls are a few of the many techniques you can apply to creatively and effectively present.

7 best techniques for interactive presentations

Interactive Presentations

An interactive presentation is one where audiences are engaged from start to finish. They are actively involved in whatever the session entails them to do, be it answering questions or assisting the presenter. Instead of a dull one-way conversation, the ambiance is more of a back-and-forth dialogue.

In today’s demanding times, companies are placing audience engagement on top of their priority list because that will determine the future of every other process in the company. Presentations spare no one but fortunately, we have access to tools and software like document creation software that aids in building presentations instantly. One will have to present in front of potential investors, customers, or users many times and the following techniques are sure shot ways to excel at them without losing the listeners’ interest.

7 Techniques for Interactive Presentations To Audiences

Interactive Presentations

  • Add visual aids to your presentation

Simply put, visual aids will not make your talk sound boring. Instead, they will spike the viewers’ and listeners’ interests in what you’re offering them. Certain video tools like the following go a long way toward giving your presentation a fun makeover where nothing misses the beat:

  • Add music to make your presentations engaging – Music is a great way to perk your audience up and encourage the showcase of emotions within them.
  • Use pictures to elevate the quality of the text. There may be people in your audience who have a photographic memory and that will help connect deeper with your talk.
  • Create animations and GIFs to give your slides a quirky twist – These days, people are using GIFs and avatars more than ever so when you also include them, you’re tapping into their curiosity.
  • Take the assistance of the many advanced video editing software we have in the market today. Doing so will leave an impression on your audience that you’re someone who knows the ins and outs of the business and does it thoroughly.

If you desire to see your presentation come to life, you need to add a few props to the mix. You can also use physical tools if that means your audience will participate more in your presentation. Use relevant tools that will successfully aid your topic and also stop your audience from yawning.

  • Break the ice

Not literally, of course. Breaking the ice means using a fun way that gets the audience to interact with each other and the presenter. To start a conversation, you can ask questions from the get-go or approach people in the audience who you think will open up. Icebreakers are one of the most effective techniques to relax your audience and get their undivided attention throughout the presentation.

There are many types of icebreakers and their related presentation templates that you can find on the internet suiting your topic or industry. Anything funny or silly will do especially when you want the atmosphere in the room to be light and exciting. If you’re in front of a huge audience, invest some time into letting people who are most likely strangers know each other. When you move forward with your topic, you will observe more people opening up now that they’ve settled in and blended well with their surroundings.

  • Have a Q&A or “Ask Me Anything (AMA)” session

We have Reddit to thank for making these Q&As and AMA sessions famous. These formats work well within presentations also where audience engagement is of supreme importance. These sessions also help you understand the expectation of your audience in a better way and you can redirect your topic and its content accordingly.

Presentations don’t always align with what your audience wants to hear. And in some cases, you may be unprepared and doing so can get your brain bursting with ideas while hearing the perspectives and thoughts of your audience. People also appreciate personalization and fluidity in presentations where it’s obvious that they are the motivation behind the entire session. With Q&A and AMAs, you can deliver successful presentations with high engagement rates, knowing that your audience is content.

  • Incorporate movement and proper body language

A great way to create synergy in the room is by encouraging movement in your audience. It could be asking them to stand when asking questions or raise their hand for doubts. You can get creative and allocate slots based on your presentation’s various POVs. Each answer will determine where a person will sit and which group they’ll be a part of. Before you know it, your presentation will be more of an activity and not just a blah-blah session.

Another way to engage your audience is to use proper gestures and body language. You must be able to decide the aura of the room and use it to your advantage. If you observe, presenters who make gestures with their hands and maintain steady eye contact with the audience have a more lively session. Gestures like signs or movement across the stage or room are effective in keeping your audience glued to what you’re conveying.

  • Use proper language and tone

You need to be aware of the demographic of your audience as this will determine the language you use. If you’re talking to experts, thought leaders and thorough professionals, you need to use advanced language and not shy from using jargon. If you’re talking to the youth, you can use humor and slang in your speech to reach out to them. Your audience type will help you decide your presentation style.

Your voice is your greatest asset while presenting and therefore, make proper use of it. Modulate your tone to give more weight to what you’re talking about. A serious topic may work well in a base tone that is loud enough. Controlling tone is one of the hardest things to do too, so you can be forgiving to yourself and use what suits you the best.

  • Share stories and anecdotes

Who doesn’t love stories? They give a sense of comfort and familiarity maybe because most of us have grown up listening to them. Don’t shy away from sharing stories with your audience if that suits your topic. You can also use visual aid and graphics to bring that story to life and make your presentation compelling enough.

Anecdotes must also be a part of your presentations as this helps the audience understand that you’ve been through something connected to your talk. The practical application of something has more influence than just the theoretical part of it. They create suspense, bring emotions to the brim and eventually become memorable bits of the presentation. There is a reason why most TED talks are always in demand.

  • Follow the basic and proven rules of presentations

There are two rules that most of us come across while preparing presentations. These are the basic pointers that you need to keep in mind:

  • The 5/5/5 Rule

You have to ensure that your audience isn’t feeling too overwhelmed with data. While slides are your sidekick, follow the 5/5/5 rule if you wish to keep it short and to the point. The rules are this:

  • No more than 5 words per line
  • No more than 5 lines of text on each slide
  • No more than 5 text-heavy slides in a row.
  • The 10/20/30 Rule

The author and speaker, Guy Kawasaki, suggested this method for influential presentation. There are 3 simple rules of the game:

  • It’s best to use a maximum of 10 slides in your presentations
  • Limit your entire presentation to 20 minutes or under as the human brain can’t comprehend more than that
  • Use no less than 30-point font in your slides.

Make each slide count

There are numerous interactive tools that you can use other than what we’ve discussed. As long as your presentation is a two-way street, you’re sorted for the entire session. Build a connection with your audience and engage them in such a way that they will remember your presentation for the rest of their lives. Most importantly, be yourself, be creative and find out what works for you which also works for your audience.

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