Types of audience in presentation and public speaking

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Types of audiences in presentation and public speaking


Launching your message. Making sure it not only reaches many people their minds, but also their hearts. It is a marketer’s challenge to get a message across – to let it resonate with the listener: be it in print, on the Web or through any other form of media. Public speaking however is often a form of communication that lacks the professional marketing attention. Presentations are often made by ourselves, on a late evening, alone, isolated in one’s cocoon, and without the support of a critical colleague. Some of us even getting lost in the design of PowerPoint slides.

Yet, a little more awareness about the different types of audiences in a presentation can already make a significant difference. It makes it easier to boast your persuasive speaking and to reach your target [audience]. In this blog we’ll therefore address the question:

“How to relate to your audience in the best way?”

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This immediately raises the question; What’s the role of your audience, as a group and as individuals, and in what context are they listening to your presentation? In marketing plans a primary audience, a secondary audience and even tertiary audiences are defined to predict and measure the impact of a message. These different ‘layers’ relate to how far your message will end up. That is, beyond the venue in which you give your presentation. As it is already challenging enough to relate to your primary audience, we’ll therefore will stick to this group [but when you’re a frequent speaker – you might want to dive into these theories].

Based on example[s] we’ll take a tour along different crowds that are potential listeners to your story. From uninformed [audience] to subject experts and from students to board members. Based on your audience analysis, which you’ll notice almost is a psychological analysis, you’ll be able to make smaller and larger strategic decisions with regards to your presentation. For instance on questions like:

  • Is there some sort or hierarchy in the group that needs to be addressed?
  • Are there any cultural differences to take into account?
  • How formal or informal do I address my attendees?
  • Will attendees respond anonymous or non-anonymous to my questions?
  • How do I create a sense of safety with help of my room setup?

Just like a professional marketer; find out who is listening, twist and tweak your story or even make radical changes and leave a lasting impression with your audience!

Types of audiences in different types of communication

A presentation always carries a message and a trigger to some sort of action. You might want to entertain, inform or instruct people or maybe you want to sell something:

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In presentation.

  • As a speaker you carry authority based on your specific achievements, knowledge or based on a specific social status which your audience doesn’t have [yet]. This makes you and your presentation unique and it’s the reason why you are given the floor for your presentation;
  • Authority however, in whatever form has a certain energetic impact on an audience. There’s never a complete neutral attitude of the audience towards you and your story. People can be a big fan of your ideas or they can almost be hostile towards them. This can already start with how you’re being anounced during an event or within an event program. It’s important to be aware of this;
  • It helps to ask a short set of live questions to your audience. To sense their energy, to relate to their knowledge level and to get a better demographic/psychological analysis and understanding. You can do so by asking people to sit or stand up as a mean to reply to your question, or they can cast votes through an audience response system. This will help you to define the types of audiences in presentation. Plus, it is interesting for the attendees themselves too. Be aware that in certain cultures it might be a bit exciting to answer live questions from somebody higher in the hierarchy [e.g. in parts of Asia]. In such a case anonymous voting already helps to lower a barrier for an audience to give authentic feedback. Discover on the spot how your attendees relate to your topic and as such finetune your onward story. Speak with authority or maybe temper it somewhat – sense from the first minute how the rest of your story can have a smooth landing!

In public speaking, persuasive speaking; The Parent-Adult-Child Model

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  • A platform with a speaker and an attendee in an audience, easily triggers the resemblance with a parent telling something to his or her child. During public speaking, a neutral [audience] approach is almost impossible. Therefore the understanding of the Parent-Adult-Child model, a psychological model, can help you to further gain insight in your persuasive speaking style;
  • The model implies that every person carries three characteristics within oneself: a Parent, an Adult and a Child. None of the roles is right or wrong, but in the very moment one role can be more effective than the other. A boss presenting to its employees, can easily be recognized as a Parent talking to a Child. Being aware of this analysis, can for instance help to adjust your tone more to an Adult, which also triggers the Adult character within the audience. Or more concrete: as a boss don’t tell employees what to do or what not to do, but address their own capacities and create a sense of empowerment instead.You can turn this into a live action by asking the audience: “How would you solve this?”. Let attendees discuss with their neighbour, to create ownership within the audience, and let them reply live or anonymous. After that, reflect on the input and give your idea maybe not as the solution, but as a suggestion. You’ll notice that analyzing the types of audiences, letting them play a role in your story, often results in a more well-received story and it supports your persuasive speaking.

Dealing with uninformed audience

Once you know better who your audience is and once you’re more aware of how you’re being perceived as a speaker, then relate your contribution to the right Parent-Adult-Child character and address a yet uninformed audience. From there the form and tone of your presentation develops almost automatically and strategic choices flow more natural:

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  • Less hierarchy? Do you want to prevent being perceived too much as an authority? Then take away the lectern to stand behind. Or leave the stage completely and stand in the middle of the room. Instead of your audience sitting in rows, seat them around you in a circle on an equal height. Almost as having a cat walk. Do you sense that actually more authority might help your message, then of course make use of that lectern, stage and seating in rows.
  • Safe environment? Do you want to take away an unsafe feeling [e.g. when discussing personal or very strategic subjects]? Use an audience response system and allow students, business relations, members or employees to reply to questions anonymous. The use of such a tool also allows an online audience to participate in your presentation and discussion. During brainstorms for instance, it requires a lot of trust to share an idea. Plus you also like to foster creativity [the Child role!] in a group, so  the use of anonymous replies can help building an energy of trust. At the end of the session you might not even need a tool anymore, simply because everyone will feel safe and will start to share freely annd happily!

Because of your knowledge about the audience now, some of these choices can be made so much easier. You’ll be able to tailor your story better to the crowd and its dynamics. Taking some time to figure this out, will help you to deliver a story that won’t be forgotten easily! In short, you’ll leave a lasting impression! So, what do you know about your audience?


 

Audience activities during presentation

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Audience activities during presentation

In ancient Greece – the word catharsis was used for the emotional bond between actor and audience. Wouldn’t one say that when it comes to presenting nowadays, catharsis didn’t evolve that much? We still look for ideas and activities during presentation to thrive engagement. So yes, in that sense not much has changed. But it has been only in recent years that we transformed from a 1.0 to a 2.0 society; The stage doesn’t only belong to actors, but also to the audience.

They aren’t any longer spectators only, they are also contributors. And this explains the importance of audience activities during presentation. Neuroscientists at Harvard found that talking about ourselves gives similar satisfying signals as money and food give us. Games to play, activities whereby attendees share personal experiences; it all contributes to an interactive experience. Not only that, when we’re able to foster the exchange of experiences and knowledge, then we also develop ourselves as individuals and organizations. So let’s zoom in on a number of audience participation ideas:

  • Games. Fun elements during your meeting;
  • Exercises. Creative formats that support knowledge and experience exchange;
  • Other activities. Other forms of audience activities during your presentation.

Audience participation ideas

Depending on the theme of your presentation, how formal or informal the setting is and how much time you have, there are several ideas out there to apply during your next presentation. Ask yourself during your preparation to what extend you still like to spend time on your PowerPoint, or whether you’d rather prepare for strong engagement activities?

  • Games | Cross the Line. “Cross the line” is a format known from “Challenge Day” whereby attendees are asked to stand, based on their answer [yes/no] on a question, either left or right from the room. With it differences are made visible and in the end sensible too. As such it can be one of the engagement games that have a big impact; either in a fun way or in a serious way. It will evoke laughter, recognition, surprise and a tear every now and then.
  • Ideas for questions are. “Who wanted to become a doctor when you were little?”, “Who was ever bullied at work?” or “Who prefers a city trip over a beach holiday?”. Based on your topic, you formulate your own questions. Serious or light. The audience generates the content of your session. Full participation is guaranteed: no one can stay in the middle. Your role is to facilitate the dialogue, ask questions and steer the conversation towards the goals of your meeting. Because of everyone’s participation and the physical movement, you’ll for sure end up with a conversation that will stick to people’s mind.

  • Activities. There are many audience activities to think of when it comes to letting your audience speak up. In these three activities you’ll find back elements that will make your session personal allowing everyone to share their thoughts:
    1. Bring it on. Ask your attendees in advance to bring a small personal item. During your session you let everyone [with a small group] elaborate on why the item is important to them. Alternatively you can do the same by asking your audience to bring a song along. This is a perfect activity to facilitate personal introductions within a group [e.g. upon the start of a new course].
    2. Fishbowl Discussion. In a fishbowl discussion there are two groups. One forms an outer circle and one group is seated in the middle. Only those located in the middle are allowed to talk. In the inner circle there’s always a free seat available. If someone from the outer circle likes to join, then the free seat is his/hers and somebody else should make space. You’ll therefore find that everyone’s contribution is very conscious and therefore often valuable. Everyone realizes that time spend in the inner circle is valuable: questions and contributions are to the point and well-thought over. Reflections from the outer circle can be send in digitally and used for a plenary feedback session straight after the Fishbowl Discussion.
    3. The Talking Stick. The talking stick is an old Native American custom of talking. Upon the start of this activity, everyone should agree that whoever has the talking stick, is allowed to talk without interruption. It’s similar to the Fishbowl Discussion, but with the talking stick it’s not a group, but an individual talking. The talking stick can be any item, as long as it is neutral and not related to anyone in the group. Each time somebody is done talking, the talking stick should be put back in the midst of the group [and should not be handed over to somebody]. It maybe sounds simple, but in practice this is a powerful method of creating deep communication and understanding.

  • Exercises. Next to games and other activities, these exercises also contribute to a lively presentation!
    1. Knowledge Quiz. Before and straight after your presentation you can quiz your audience about your topic through Sendsteps Audience Response System. Be it solar energy, hotel management or 20th century art; formulate interesting multiple choice questions. Via Sendsteps you can add questions to your PowerPoint slide and from there the audience can respond. Track who replied what, plus see the score and announce a winner. All that your audience needs is a smartphone and everyone is ready to go!
    2. Set The Agenda. In your event program, you can leave part of the program blank. In it you eventually let your audience decide what to discuss. Upon the start of your session you let your audience form small groups. Give them a relevant question and use the output [which they can send in via Sendsteps] for a plenary discussion during your blank program item. From the output you can formulate statements that can result in a lively ‘agree’ or ‘disagree’ debate. Or alternatively invite adhoc a speaker to elaborate on the output. If you’re able to be this flexible, you’ll amaze your crowd with tailoring exclusively to their needs!

Remember those Harvard scientists? Now you have concrete tools that will help you to setup an engaging presentation that will trigger the same effect as money and food; an audience that can talk about itself will easily experience satisfaction. A win-win situation for everyone!


 

How to keep an audience engaged during a presentation

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How to keep an audience engaged during a presentation

Did you ever think of your presentation as a first time date? Imagine – it’s really not that different. Upfront you are busy with what to wear, what to say and especially what not to say. You don’t need an awful lot of dating experience to know that in the end a date always goes different than expected. But nevertheless, we often feel we can never do without a proper mental preparation.

It requires a similar approach to keep an audience engaged during a presentation. And to steal their hearts. When you aim for an interactive and inspiring presentation, then attention to many details is needed. In this article we explain you more on how to keep audience engaged during presentation.

We do so based on these questions – how to engage your audience:

  • … during public speaking assessments?
  • … through the use of games?
  • … through the use of PowerPoint during presentation?
  • … by facilitating fulll audience participation during presentations?

How to engage an audience in public speaking

Every speaker is different, each story carries a different energy and each time an audience changes; that is in size, in experience and in culture. Many ingredients influence the course of your public speaking performance.

Yet, here are some basics that are universal and yet powerful to be aware of:

  • Start personal. Make the stage and the vibe yours. Share something personal and from there build the bridge to your theme. By doing so, you relate to your personal drive and motivation and you give context to your story. This makes it easier for an audience to engage with your topic and to understand the bigger picture.
  • Know your audience.When in a restaurant with your date – you don’t start talking out of the blue. By knowing the other, it helps to find the right tone, to underline similar shared experiences and to create mutual understanding. Ask a few questions to individual attendees before starting your presentation. Or conduct a short pre-event survey and use the input for your presentation. People often aren’t interested in speeches, but they do like an inspiring conversation instead.
  • Treat time as precious. When given a time slot of 30 minutes – use 25. No matter how interesting your presentation is, spare time is often considered as a little present. But how to use time in other valuable ways? From a more strategic angle you can use time to underline your message; Take a 3-8 seconds pause before telling the really important part. Even the worst smartphone addicts will pay attention now. It might feel awkward in the beginning, but then notice the impact, you’ll get the hang of it!

Games to engage audience during presentation

A game element during a presentation requires that you’re in tune with the vibe of your event. A game can make or break it. The more serious the topic, the less inviting it is to go ‘out-of-the-box’, let alone to get funny. Then again, if you know how to introduce it with confidence and flair, then you might get your crowd on the edge of their chairs!

  • Games to engage an audience. The most popular games to play are often quizzes. Through the use of audience response systems [like Sendsteps], you can easily setup a digital quiz. As such you can quickly see the scores are and there’s no unclarity about the winner. Add a timer for each question and a little background music to get the quiz buzz going!

    As for the quiz itself: relate the multiple choice questions to trivia to keep it light or make it more interesting and dive into your subject. Add a little product placement [clever when sponsors are involved] and the winner leaves the venue with a nice price from the organization or the sponsor!

  • Fun ways to engage an audience. Next to a quiz, there are other ways to keep people’s attention during presentation and meetings. Here are some ideas and fun ways (to engage):
    1. Pre-recorded video interview. Before your event, script an interview and then record it with yourself and imitate someone popular or interview somebody else. When live on stage, show the video and ask the scripted questions and let the person on the video reply. Show your creative side and imagine how hilarious this can turn out!
    2. Build a Wordcloud. Through the use of an audience response system you can start building a live wordcloud with your audience. Ask for everyone’s participation and let attendees send in a one-word reply to a fun question. “What did you want to become when you were 10 years old?”, “Who would you like to spend a coffee with?”.
    3. Play Live Music. Surprisingly music is not often an ingredient of a corporate event, or part of a presentation. But why not? It’s a nice neutralizer in the midst of all the content shared. And it opens the mind for any of your ideas shared in your upcoming presentation.
  • Creative activities to engage an audience. Apart from single event ingredients, like a word cloud or a quiz, you can also work with a sidekick. A person who constantly monitors the sentiment within the audience. As attendees cast votes, send in remarks or ask questions [through their smartphone]; the sidekick is the first person to see all of that coming in. On scripted or spontaneous moments, he puts forward the most intriguing contributions.

    Not only does it help the chairman for orchestrating the audience response better, it also adds a nice dynamic throughout the event program. Attendees feel heard, can respond with honest thoughts and you’ll be sure that based on your audience input that you’ll get to the core. The role of sidekick can be executed by a professional sidekick or by somebody from the own organization. Be aware that this requires good skills in terms of listening and simultaneously scanning large volumes of incoming content, plus presenting skills for bringing the content forward lively and clear.

How to engage audience in powerpoint presentation

As much as PowerPoint can have a negative connotation, it still is the most used presentation tool worldwide. Some people can lose themselves in the preparations, some feel safer using it and others pull of a great performance. So how to come up with a presentation that will engage your audience and foster participation?

Here are some ideas to play with:

  • Less is more. Challenge yourself and write as little as possible on your slides. Or simply skip all text and make use of images instead. Spend your time on browsing powerful images, rather than on formulating clever texts. Are you planning on using video? Make sure to test it before and in the venue itself again!
  • Ask for feedback. Although a presentation itself can be rehearsed with somebody giving you feedback, this might be a time consuming project for you or at least the other. Still, if you have the chance – why not! But spreading your PowerPoint around with a few of your colleagues or peers: that’s an easy task with almost always some valuable input!
  • Ask for feedback. Although a presentation itself can be rehearsed with somebody giving you feedback, this might be a time consuming project for you or at least the other. Still, if you have the chance – why not! But spreading your PowerPoint around with a few of your colleagues or peers: that’s an easy task with almost always some valuable input!

Make a presentation interactive

With help of Sendsteps audience response system you’ll bring your presentation to a new level: an interactive one!

  • How to make presentation interactive? The quickest and best way to use Sendsteps is to add a number of multiple choice questions. Use it as an icebreaker, or test your crowd’s knowledge or make an audience profile based on a number of profiling questions.

    Or do you dare to let attendees respond openly through their smartphone? Enable the audience to voice their opinion, to raise questions and to share ideas. Either allow all responses directly on the presentation screen, or filter messages through your tablet or smartphone and from there assign a selection to the screen. The mix of open content and polling will result in a lively session! Click here to watch a short tutorial and get yourself going!

  • Interactive presentation ideas for college? How to get a conversation going in larger classes? For interactive college ideas you’ll quickly notice how Sendsteps can help you mobilizing an entire class. Without singling out any of your students – even not the quiet ones.

    Use the open question “what do you expect from today’s course?”, let students come up with associations on a theme and put it in a live wordcloud, play a quiz based on the discussed content or let one of the students be sidekick on behalf of the class. Dare to experiment and to design your class slightly different. With it you’ll see that there’s more to asking “are there any other questions”!

We’re curious to hear more about your upcoming presentation! Reach out and let us think along with you – we like to see you shine on stage and steel the audience their hearts!


 

How to build trust in the workplace

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How to build trust in the workplace by having better meetings

In business, the word ‘trust’ can easily be perceived as a hallow term. It can be difficult to grasp the real meaning of it. Trust might not be easy to quantify, but everyone will agree that it is worth spending time and resources on. British employee engagement specialist Susan Jacobs, known from the Jacobs Model, defined the following 8 drivers of trust on the work floor:

  1. A sense of belonging: the feeling of an employee being part of a team
  2. Voice and recognition: the possibility to speak up and have a say in decision making
  3. Significance and position: the extent to which an employee feels valued
  4. Equal treatment: the understanding that everyone is treated equally
  5. Learn and experiment: the experience of being able to experiment, make mistakes and learn
  6. Choice and autonomy: the empowerment to make individual choices for the organization
  7. Security and certainty: the sense of being save due to confidence in the team
  8. Purpose: the understanding of how an individual contributes to the whole

Creating Trust | How to organize business meetings?

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At Sendsteps we often relate to trust, since the audience interaction tool is used in settings where trust is such an important ingredient: during all kind of meetings. Think of team building exercises, strategic board room sessions or shareholder meetings. Clients often ask us questions on how to:

  • … encourage an open dialogue
  • … address anonymous feedback
  • … be certain of data security

Before answering these questions, it helps to get a better understanding of the different roles and characteristics of your individual team members. What is their influence on trust within the team? Obviously, there are many ways of looking into this. At Sendsteps there are a few perspectives that we believe give an interesting view on trust within your team. We cover three aspects;

  1. Karen Stephenson’s theory on trust within office networks. Her theory helps us understand how trust steers information flows within an organization.
  2. A second aspect is that of introvert and extravert team members and how both have different influences on the experience of trust within a team.
  3. And finally, the stage for trust, namely the actual work floor, is of influence for creating a safe and positive atmosphere. We’ll discuss the so-called “open workspace”.

Creating Trust | The roles team members play

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Karen Stephenson is an American professor and corporate anthropologist who does research into “the anatomy of networks”. Stephenson especially focusses on how information flows within a network. For instance, she helped U.S. Defense to identify the weak spots and key connections of the Al Qaeda terrorist network. But her research covers all kinds of networks: from family, to social, to office networks. With it she contributes to a better sense of community and even helps to monetize trust. In her theory, Stephenson defines three roles that are present within every team and that dictate how information flows [or not, with a lack of trust!]. Keep your own organization in mind, when reflecting on the following roles:

  • Hubs: The hubs are the social butterflies of your team. They know a lot of people, are talkative by nature and bring people together. Tell something to a hub and soon everyone will know.
  • Gatekeepers: The gatekeepers play an important role in passing on information to a next level or to block it. They can either use or abuse power.
  • Pulse takers: The pulse takers can be found on the edges of the network. They might not be the center of attention, yet they have sufficient overview, and enough relationships to get a good sense of the picture.
Karen Stephenson claims that innovative companies have a large sense of trust. There are many connections between the individual team members.

3 tips to make clever use of different team roles:

So what to do with this information in regard to your office meetings?

  1. Define the roles in your team: Take a minute and think of your colleagues: who is a typical hub? Could John be a pulse taker? Let it be clear that these roles are informal and not necessarily related to function levels [e.g. a receptionist can be more of gatekeeper than a CFO].When exploring these roles within your team, it might not come as a surprise that most of the speaking time is consumed by hubs. Now think of all the pulse takers among your meeting attendees; actively engage them by asking them questions, or by letting them pitch ideas.
  2. Spend a team session on roles: Why not spend a team session on defining these roles together with your team? It can be interesting to do so, because the knowledge of these three roles can be a strategic tool for controlling and building the communication within your team.With a clear team awareness about everyone’s role, you might find a new dynamic in your meetings and group interaction. Do gatekeepers speak up more easily? Can hubs count to 10 before replying? Make it a little challenge and see what happens. Experimenting is the first step towards innovation!
  3. Rethink your internal and external communication activities; communicating change traditionally is executed by the communication professionals within your team [hubs]. But in some occasions, there might be other colleagues in the office network that have a much stronger, strategic position within the network [pulse takers for instance]. Can you think of someone else to do the next communication job?

Creating Trust | Introvert and extravert employees

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The next trust aspect we’d like to explore is the difference between extravert and introvert team members. Whereas extraverts can often be found in the role of “hub”, introverts are typical “pulse takers”. Let’s zoom in on our introvert employees – one out of two or three of our colleagues!

Introversion is easily mistaken by shyness. But be aware, “introversion is more about how you respond to stimulation, including social stimulation”, says Susan Cain [an American writer, speaker and former Wall Street lawyer]. Introverts are quietly listening and reflecting. They need time to answer. They like substance over chitchat. They’re often overlooked during a meeting or even on a broader scale; when a new management position needs to be fulfilled. Yet, introverts create brilliant work, are thoughtful leaders and only speak during meetings when things are overthought. But, also here; trust is essential in the communication between both groups. Extraverts trusting the work of introverts and vice versa.

4 tips to engage extravert and introverts during meetings:

When organizing a meeting, keep in mind both type of employees and create a setting where both experience trust;

  1. Don’t rush: Take time for your meeting, but stick to the point. Rather spread a longer meeting over two dates, rather than quickly skimming over agenda items in order to fit them in.
  2. Introduce think breaks: Let attendees have a think-break, so that everyone can process information before answering;
  3. Limit group work: “Stop the madness for constant group work” [as Susan Cain puts it] – quality can also come from solo time and activities. There isn’t always a “need to discuss in pairs”!
  4. Facilitate follow up: Organize a clear follow up; what will be discussed, will be further investigated and processed? Introverts, especially, appreciate their input being taken seriously.

Creating Trust | Open or closed workspaces?

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Did you know that 70% of all U.S. offices use open workspaces? Since the mid 2000’s the concept was introduced by many Silicon Valley companies. There are many advantages to having an open workspace. The most important being stronger collaboration. Yet, there are also critical remarks to be made.

In 2005 Jungsoo Kim and Richard de Dear from the University of Sydney conducted extensive research into differences in employee experiences between those working in an open workspace and those working in private offices. They compared 303 offices. Noise, disruption and sound privacy were the most frequent mentioned negative experiences in open workspaces. At the same time, the ease of interaction was valued most. Interestingly, that aspect was not experienced differently by private office workers.

In short and according to the researchers, the open workspaces are not necessarily the engines of collaboration. For extravert hubs it might work better than it does for introvert pulsetakers. Don’t forget also that the currency of friendship is sharing confidence. Funny enough, this is less easy to achieve in an open workspace. So, it seems there’s no one-size fits all and it comes down to finding what works best for your team.

4 tips to engage with your team in different office spaces

When you want to foster interaction in your team then an open workspace seems like the logical step. Yet, when keeping in mind all the different roles we discussed [introverts, extraverts, hubs, gatekeepers and pulsetakers], you’ll need to do some clever thinking of your floor plan so that everyone feels comfortable and experiences the trust to share or to work quietly;

  1. Spread seats for different roles: Seat your hubs in the middle, then your gatekeepers and let the relatively more quiet spaces belong to the pulsetakers.
  2. Create your quiet spaces: A place to focus, to maybe even re-charge; ready for more and better interaction! Solitude is a crucial ingredient for productivity.
  3. Go out! Studies show that business trips boast creativity, social cohesion and interaction in the team.

Conclusion | Meetings with trust

When there’s trust in the workplace, there’s trust to connect. Space for positive team member relationships from where innovative ideas are born. Keep in mind your team’s DNA and in what kind of setting they feel most trusted. Foster a culture where it is good to ask questions and keep it personal. To make it a bit more concrete:

  • Discuss statements [agree/disagree] in which the word “I” is used. E.g. “I believe our team communication style is effective”. Give your introvert team members a think break, let your gatekeepers speak up.
  • Facilitate anonymous feedback to get to the core. Sometimes it doesn’t matter who says what, but the fact that an issue is addressed by itself is positive. Don’t ask “who said that?”, but ask “who likes to elaborate on this issue”? Maybe initiate such a talk during a team field trip – in a relaxed setting.
  • In very strategic meetings it is helpful to know that anonymous is anonymous. Sendsteps technology is ISO compliant and used by Fortune500 companies because of its data security settings.

In short, cultivate an atmosphere where employees’ questions come from a desire to grow and learn. As employer, you can create a perfect setting with proper insight in factors that build trust and with the intention to grow and innovate as a team. Meetings that express trust!


 

Interactive workspaces | Discover these 3 examples!

Interactive workspaces | 3 examples
Interactive workspaces. How do they look like? And what does it take to realize them? Clients who once used Sendsteps during a one-off event experienced the power of interaction. Many of them decided to proceed with the use of Sendsteps: in-house and via year license of the software. Our Customer Success Manager interviewed 4 professionals who represent diverse industries and who all use Sendsteps within their company. Meet Fedde, Karlijn [VodafoneZiggo], António [BCG] and Ferry [KLM] and hear how they create interactive workspaces: with passion and success!

Why these interactive workspaces value engagement?

Basically every gathering of stakeholders or employees gives an opportunity for interaction. And with it an opportunity to create value. A vision that is shared and carried by all three interviewed companies. It offers great chances to:

  • … collect data from everyone
  • … increase response rates on questions, surveys
  • … get to the core by allowing anonymous participation
  • … cut travel costs by facilitating online participation
  • … safe time by handy stored data on individual and group level
  • … create content to be used for new actions

How these interactive workspaces apply engagement?

There’s many forms to think of in which you can apply audience interaction. VodafoneZiggo uses Sendsteps to facilitate interaction during employee meetings, whereas BCG collects valuable data during client sessions. Other meetings to which you can apply audience engagement are:

  • Training sessions
  • Townhall meetings
  • Quarterly / Yearly Results
  • Recruitment events
  • Boardroom meetings
  • Shareholder meetings
  • Webinars & Hybrid events
  • Playing a quiz

Each meeting requires its own approach if it concerns the type and timing of these questions and how to deal with the outcome of the questions. The better prepared, the more valuable the outcome of your interactive session will be.

nandi2Inspired by Fedde, Karlijn, António and Ferry? At Sendsteps we’re here to assist and we’re excited to get you going with [more] interaction at your workspace too!

Contact us and book a demo. Our Customer Success Manager Nandi will share some best practises with you! Explore with her how Sendsteps can boost the interaction at your workspace too!

Book a demo!


 

Interaction moments with your audience | 5 key moments!

interaction moments with your audience

A powerful presentation is fueled by audience interaction moments. Many of us will agree. Yet most of us struggle with the actual implementation of these interaction moments. An event professional will ask: “When during my event do I engage with my crowd?”. A speaker will ask: “When during my presentation do I ask a question to the attendees?”. Prevent over asking, but cover all your information needs. We identified 5 key interaction moments that will result in a balanced scheme of speaking ánd interacting!

1. Opening | An entertaining multiple question

Ask a simple and light opening question upon the opening of your session. This will get everyone in the mood for interaction and on the moment suprême you can be sure of high response rates. People will remember how they can participate. As an example let attendees respond to a multiple question and with it let them rate their neighbour for “their degree of innovativity”.

2. Presentation intro | A clarifying multiple choice question

When starting a presentation you can choose an icebreaker in the form of a multiple choice question. This sets the context for the rest of your story line. You’ll know if you’ll need to convince your crowd or whether you’re surounded by like minded souls. “Sustainability needs more attention on individual level, rather then on a corporate level” A] Agree B] Disagree – is a great introduction to a presentation on corporate social responsibility!

3. Presentation body | An in between energizer

Regardless of how interesting your story is – the attention span will start to decrease after 15-20 minutes. Built in a multiple choice question, just to shake up your audience and put them into a pro-active mindset. Check how a theme is alive [or not] within ones organization e.g. “I’m proud of the small ecological footprint that my company leaves” A] Agree B] Disagree.

4. Presentation closing | Inspiring Q&A interaction moments

Allow your audience to send in questions throughout your presentation. Either pause and schedule interaction moments after every 5-10 minutes or save all the input to deal with after your presentation. Show all questions or only publish a selection on the screen. Let the chairman ask the questions or have a professional sidekick take on this role as “voice of the audience”.

Interaction moments with your audience - use a closing wordcloud!

The use of a closing wordcloud.

5. The End | An evaluating wordcloud

Time to check in for one more last time. Ask the audience how they evaluate today’s event. Either with a live wordcloud or otherwhise with a short online survey. Why wait till tomorrow? Built an evaluation moment into your program and get a high response rate. And better scoring evaluations. You can choose to share outcomes or simply keep them to yourself and use it internally within your team. It’s up to you!


Inspired? Time to turn your inspiration into exciting questions and add them to your PowerPoint presentation with help of the Sendsteps solution!

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Ice-breakers for your presentation | 5 proven suggestions!

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Haven’t we all been there? That moment when you sit down to prepare the first few lines of your presentation. The core of your story isn’t that difficult – you’re an expert on the matter. Yet, you want the beginning to be smashing too! We’re here to help: pick any of these ice-breakers and melt your crowd!
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You’ll surprise an audience with something unexpected. Choose a picture of your travels, your pets or childhood. Anything personal will do. This not only helps to introduce yourself, but people can have a laugh too. That’s what we call an ice-breaker: A charming and light start of your story!
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Take the focus of yourself and let attendees first briefly speak to one another. Think of a question they can discuss, like “How innovative do you consider yourself?”, “What’s your best experience with today’s theme?”. Do you notice how the atmosphere has become so much more relaxt?
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Recently Sendsteps facilitated a large event of a hotel booking platform. The CEO asked the audience with which story he should kick off: A] My trend predictions for the upcoming travel season B] My reflection on last year’s performance C] My last holiday to Greece. The audience voted for C.
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Instead of telling your story, let the audience share theirs with you. Come up with a few fun and personal questions: “If you would own a time machine, to what moment would you travel back?”, “What will you do on your first day of retirement?” or “What did you find difficult to share as a kid?”.
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Imagine yourself in front of a group that is predominantly represented by one type of profession e.g. lawyers, marketeers or nurse practitioners. You’ll find plenty of image studies online that describe how people see a specific profession. Check with your crowd if indeed “Lawyers are smooth talkers” or if “Event planners are well-organized in their private live too”.

The trick to these ice-breakers is to make people feel more relaxt. To create more interaction. To tear down some walls that can easily be pulled up in a professional context. A lighter energy will reflect on your story too. For any of the above ice-breakers it helps to publish outcomes onto the presentation screen. You can do so for your poll, your open question or wordcloud! Ready? Now melt some ice!

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Anonymous audience feedback? 3 Ways to enrich meetings!

Anonymous feedback

In an era of tranparent company cultures, anonymity isn’t always considered an asset. Still, it can facilitate trust and with it a starting point of a more open way of communicating. At Sendsteps we’re regularly involved in the setup of meetings in which anonymous feedback is considered: a must.

3 Reasons to welcome anonymous feedback

There’s multiple occassions in which it is whise to allow your audience to contribute anonymous:

1. Strategic discussions | Measure sentiment:
Decisions with a great social impact need proper change management. Imagine a reorganization in which multiple employees will lose their job. Prepare your management (the carriers of the difficult message to the rest of the team) by measuring the sentiment and to reply to anonymous feedback. This makes it easier to steer expectations during the more complicated phases that your organization can go through at times.

2. Co-creation sessions | Erase hierarchy:
In co-creation sessions you’ll need trust to share ideas. An idea can easily be judged on its feasibility or on its sender. Especially within organizations with a strong hierarchy it is more challenging to share ideas. Especially the crazy ones! By allowing anonymous input during your brainstorm,  all ideas make an equal chance. No matter if the idea is coming from the CEO or from the receptionist!

3. Team coaching | Stay objective:
Foster an open conversation around themes like work satisfaction, effective collaboration or leadership by allowing anonymous feedback. Challenges between two departments can much easier be discussed if issues are clearly formulated on the presentation screen; No need to ask ‘who said this?’, rather ask ‘who want to elaborate on this comment?’. Or first ask your team to rate their job live. And then via Sendsteps. There can be a discrepancy between the live and the anonymous digital input: a great starting point for a dialogue with your team!

Your next anonymous feedback session?

Sendsteps audience response system allows you to setup an interactive PowerPoint session. Simply add multiple choice and open questions in your slideshow. Questions that address the subject that you like to discuss and on which you’d like to receive anonymous feedback. By default all the input received is anonymous [but this can be changed via your dashboard settings]. Do you dare to start the experiment?


 

Your 20-minute speaking slot | 3 interaction moments

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You are a speaker. Often invited to share expert views. Over time you developed a presentation style that fits like your favorite jacket. Yet, how to answer that voice that keeps challenging you to improve your story? For all these 20-minutes speaking slot invitations; here’s three tips on how Sendsteps could charge your message. With concrete audience interaction. By the minute;

Minute 01/20 | Opening multiple choice question | Building rapport
Allow a short moment of reflection on your theme. Throw in a statement [agree/disagree] in which the word “I” is formulated. Attendees can briefly discuss their answer with their neighbor.

“I consider sustainability to be a stronger responsibility for companies, than for myself”

Use the vote results on the screen, as an introduction to your own story. Your attendees are now checked-in on your theme. Time to take them on your journey.

Minute 10/20: Middle open question | Foster the attention span
Allow attendees to send in questions from the very first minute. Halfway through your presentation, you present the Sendsteps slide with an open ended question titled “Your question to Mary Johnson?”. Either handpick three questions from the message filter on the spot [via your smartphone or tablet] and assign them nonchalantly to your presentation screen. Oofff, you’re so cool! Or simply let questions pass by automatically and pick a few to reflect on. Sense the vibe within your crowd when they hear you answering their questions. Indeed, on the edge of their seat!

Minute 18/20: Final wordcloud | Underline your message
A wordcloud is a playful way of ending your story. Keep it light and ask your attendees to formulate just one word in which they capture their feeling of today’s story.

“In one word: What sticks with you most after today’s presentation?”

Leave the image of the wordcloud on the screen as you leave the stage. The wordcloud speaks for itself. Your story and their reflections. Congratulations – you just left a lasting impression!

Ok – roll up your sleeves now. Here are a few short tutorial videos to get you going with the above. Signup for your free account and simply try this experiment during your next presentation!

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What is Japanese sake made from? The Almost-Weekend-Quiz!

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Now let’s be honest: how productive are you on a Friday afternoon? By that we mean at work. Not in the bar. No offense, but we reckon there’s other days of the week on which you’re more productive. We don’t blame you. Still, what to do with these moments where you feel the weekend should start, but it’s not fully there yet? Indeed – play a quiz with your team!

A quiz? Yes, did you know you can easily create one with Sendsteps? The free version of the Sendsteps PowerPoint software allows you to invite 20 of your team members. So there you go! Spend 15 minutes or so on formulating the silliest and most intriguing questions and then open your PowerPoint;

1. Download Sendsteps PowerPoint tool
2. Add your questions and answer options
3. Switch on the non-anonymous functionality via your Sendsteps Dashboard
4. Let your team respond to the questions via smartphone
5. Follow the individual results via your Sendsteps Dashboard

You’re about to let your friendly competition begin! Not productive? Then you clearly haven’t played a team quiz before! You’ll notice it will spark the team spirit. Now, let us help you with the first question:

What is Japanese Sake made from? A] Grain B] Rice C] Flower D] Potatoes

Need more inspiration for quiz questions? Have a look here: a website with hundreds of questions about nature, film, culture, food and so on. Be aware you can easily lose yourself here. Enough inspiration? Time to get the beer cold, the volume up and to start setting up your Friday afternoon quiz!

PS: Sake is made of rice – cheers!

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