How to make a presentation interactive: best practice examples, software and ideas of interaction with your audience through activities and games
If you would take a minute. And think of a presentation you’ve recently attended. Is there any presentation that pops up in your mind? You probably recall presentations that involved a creative element. Something that encouraged you and the rest of the audience to engage. Think of activities to do, like; talking with your neighbor, the use of audience response software or even games to play.
There are many ways to make group presentations moments to remember. But how to be more interactive during your presentation? What is (an interactive presentation) going to change, the moment you involve your audience? Although there isn’t a single best way, we’d like to share with you the following ideas:
- Interactive games for a presentation: Any playful and competitive element already soon creates an atmosphere of connection. Often needed to come to a consensus, to get support for new plans and to create a good team vibe!
- Activities ideas: Giving the audience a task or assignment ignites a proactive mindset. Helpful to empower attendees and to make an entire group responsible for a challenge.
- Examples of interactive presentations: Copy what you can use and prevent spending time thinking of presentation formats that already proved their success.
- Interactive presentation software: There’s tools out there that can easily help you to create audience interaction. Anonymous or not. Polls or open questions. Word clouds or surveys. See what works best for you!
When preparing your presentation, inclusive the interactive elements, you obviously like to tune in on your audience profile. Are the attendees higher educated or not, young or older, introvert or extravert, familiar with your subject or not? Getting yourself a clear picture, will help to find the interactive approach that will work best.
- Quiz. Let the entire audience stand up. Ask attendees to be seated upon answering [by raising hands] questions incorrectly. Proceed with the quiz questions, going from easy and simple to creative and difficult, until the last one person is still standing: he or she is the winner! Alternatively use audience response software, whereby attendees can cast [identified] responses. Through your online dashboard or on the presentation screen, you can see who is the winner.Tip Plan your quiz games strategically. Use it as the kick off to create a more relaxed atmosphere. Or after the lunch to prevent a low energy dip. Or use it to close off with it and end with a positive vibe.
- Pitch-a-neighbour. Instead of asking your attendees to introduce themselves plenary. Or hear their specific thought on something. Ask them to have an interview with their neighbour. Give examples and ideas on what to question in specific. The neighbour then will process the information in such a way that he/or she is able to give a 1 minute pitch about the other towards the rest of the group. This forces you to listen differently and to really get to know the other. One of the more serious games to play.
Tip Obviously, to do (in a presentation) such an exercise becomes more challenging the moment your audience is bigger. Still then you can pick a few volunteers to present somebody and as such give the crowd an idea of who’s present today. A truly interactive presentation!
- Send in Scenarios. When giving group presentations, it is always a question what to exactly cover. Every attendee is unique in his/her professional experience and knowledge and therefore it can be a challenge to cater to everyone. Already in an early stage, before preparing your powerpoint, you can ask your attendees a few questions in advance. To measure their knowledge and to hear from them what they expect from your presentation. With online surveys this can be easily executed. This will give you the right input to tailor your story.TipOr when you feel comfortable enough with your topic, you might as well ask the questions on the spot using audience response tooling. Let attendees discuss in pairs whereby this becomes one of the more practical activities during your presentation. After a few minutes the audience will send in their responses and you can decide which topics or ideas to pick and when to elaborate on it.
- Cross the line. This one of the games that requires a little more venue space. Ideally you have an open space, where attendees can walk around freely, with in the midst a line to cross. This game can be played for fun or with a more substantial approach. As one of the examples, think of a conference about sustainability. Now you can ask attendees questions related to that: “Who has an electric car?”, “Who believes climate change can be still turned around” etc. Either proceed after each question, or interview a few of the attendees.
- Image research. What is (an interactive presentation) doing differently to an audience compared to a 1.0 presentation? With a 2.0 presentation you can easily make things more personal. Often an audience has a few common characteristics e.g. profession, shared professional themes, job level etc.Make use of the Sendsteps Audience Response System (powerpoint software) and ask 5 multiple choice questions about how the group of professionals see themselves. Once a large conference for accountants took place where a professor presented an image study about the professional group. Tip Before presenting the results he would constantly check in with the attendees to hear their ideas on the research topics and findings. It resulted in both serious insights, as well as fun moments upon the attendees recognizing themselves in the stereotypes of accountants.
- Case consultants. Games can easily be presented in the form of a case study. Each time you explain a next step in your story, you can work with cases. “What would you do next, or in this specific situation?” whereby attendees can then choose from a few answer options. From there you can proceed with explaining why the answer was wrong or discuss the correct answer. Think of explaining the development of a new and innovative product: “what was the first step?”, “What do you think we walked into?”, “How do you believe competition reacted?” etc.
These days a lot of tools, free or paid, are out there to support you with your interactive presentation. The definition of best tool is hard to give, depending on your list of requirements. Check the web and multimedia to find your prefered solution.
The integration with Powerpoint [no need to use additional screens], the protection of data and the endless branding possibilities, makes Sendsteps Audience Response System great software to work with. A glimpse of the many features:
- Multiple choice and open ended questions. Collect instant responses. Either anonymous or identified on both multiple choice and open questions. With the open content you can let attendees upvote comments: the most rewarded comment can be addressed!
- Wordclouds. Create wordclouds with your audience. Describe in one word … “How would you describe the team culture”, “What would be a metaphor for the communication style in this group”, “What did you think of today?” etc.
- Surveys. Either on the sport, before or after your event; at any given moment you can tune in with the opinion from your attendees. Use it to collect valuable data, to improve your event and to brief the speakers.
About the author
Robert is a professional moderator, presenter and speaker coach. Robert has years of experience at home and abroad and works for a broad range of industries. He has interviewed ministers, captains of industry and even His Holiness the Dalai Lama. In his dealings with the audience, he always uses Sendsteps. With it, an audience is able to voice their opinions, whereby attendees can cast votes or send in comments to speakers and panels on stage. As such, events turn into lively dialogues with everyone being able to speak up!