Professional presenters know that to really be memorable, you must involve the audience in your presentation. Once you’ve overcome your nervousness or anxiety and are comfortable speaking in front of people, this is a natural way to take your presentations to a whole new level. As you involve the audience, you will notice a new excitement and energy in your presentations.
Here are some ways to involve your audience in your presentation:
- Ask a question. It’s a very simple thing to do, and you may think it’s been done many times, but the truth is, it’s a very effective way to involve the audience, especially if the question is provocative. The question must relate to your topic. Simply asking, “Did everyone have a good lunch?” isn’t going to rev up anyone or pique their interest in you or your topic. Once you’ve asked the question, you can ask people to respond by raising their hands, or actually have a few audience members stand to give you their answers.
- Ask audience members to give examples related to your point. For example, if your presentation advocates living a healthy lifestyle rather than going on a diet to lose weight, ask audience members to share their stories about how they tried a diet and it didn’t work or how they regained the weight. Many people enjoy sharing these kinds of stories and the audience likes hearing them. They will be much more attentive and ready to hear your point of view.
- Create an activity for the audience to do. This is a great way to involve the audience, as long as you have ample time and are comfortable interacting with audience members. Develop an activity that each audience member can do on his or her own or separate them into teams. It doesn’t have to be a competition, but competitions work well to energize an audience. Depending on the activity, you can either ask for volunteers to describe their results, or you can ask groups to come to the front to perform or communicate their results. The activity MUST relate to your topic.
- Quiz your audience. If you really want to keep your listeners on their toes, ask them a few questions about your topic before your presentation to determine their baseline knowledge, and let them know you’ll be asking the same questions at the end of the presentation. The hope is that they’ll listen more intently for those answers. Make sure the questions relate to the most important points in your presentation.