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How to make a presentation interactive

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.

Interactive games for a presentation

  • 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!

Interactive activities to do in a 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.

Examples of interactive presentations

  • 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.

Interactive presentation software

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.
Contact usDid you read anything that can match with your audience? Are you able to wrap it into the context of your topic? Feel free to contact us at any time and we’re happy to think along with you!

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

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!

Upvoting Feature

Upvoting Feature

To most of us presenting on itself is already a challenge. Some get pleasure out of it, but most people are happy when it is over. So why even involve the audience? Doesn’t it only make it more difficult for the presenter to manage the story line?

Obvious thoughts, but experience often shows the contrary. Once you let the audience participate in your story, dynamics will start to work for you, instead of against you;

  • Keep focus: When going back and forth between speaker and audience, then the focus is less on you as speaker. Every now and then this comfortably takes away the pressure. Giving you time to zoom out a little, to decide where to speed up or where to give more attention to. Just make sure you have a script to follow and you won’t lose track.
  • Foster engagement: The audience will feel more involved. They can reflect on what you’ve just said and compare it with their own practice. They can give you and other attendees suggestions or ask you to further explain. When you feel it is time to move on, then remember that you’re in charge at all times!
  • Create excitement: Your story will come to live. Since often as a presenter you’re the expert, you’ll find that hardly none of the audience’s questions will catch you off guard. Trust it. They will actually fuel your story, because you suddenly remember this good example!

When to ‘bring in the audience’?

Clearly there’s a moment for everything during presenting. In most cases a monologue is very useful to kick off with. It gives attendees a clear understanding, they can get used to you as speaker and it gives time to form some first thoughts. Yet, after a few minutes questions will pop into people’s heads…

Interesting By using audience response tool Sendsteps you can let the audience send in comments or questions from the very first moment. This doesn’t mean you have to deal with all of them. Nor deal with them instantly.

By using audience response tool Sendsteps you can let the audience send in comments or questions from the very first moment. This doesn’t mean you have to deal with all of them. Nor deal with them instantly. Your audience can follow all the live comments through the response website on their smartphone. They can give “likes” to questions and comments that appeal most to them. This is called “upvoting”. Either pause in the middle and deal with a few remarks or save them till the very end. The comments ranked highest are there for you to answer.

Normally Q&A sessions are only short. But this is based on the 1.0 approach whereby the presenter asks “Are there any questions?”. Most attendees don’t dare to speak up. However [!], with the use of the tool you’ll find that attendees send in many more comments. Be clever and schedule more Q&A time and don’t be afraid this will cut down your presentation time: consider it as an essential part! A thumb rule? For each 10 minute presentation – 5 minute Q&A!

Criticasters: How to deal with unexpected comments?

Let’s grab the bull by the horns. Many presenters don’t involve the audience as they can be afraid for unexpected questions.

Still, what happens when criticism or negativity remains unaddressed?

  • Prepare scenario’s:  Being an expert in your topic, you know when attendees can sense possible friction. Or when stakes start to conflict. When thinking from the audience’s perspective, you can already prepare on how to tackle certain concerns or critics.
  • Play a joker: No matter if you’re the CEO or a junior professional, when you receive a difficult question it is perfectly ok to “park it”. Acknowledge the concern or question, let the attendee know you don’t have the answer now, and immediately proceed in informing on how you will follow up. E.g. “That’s a very good question. I understand it bothers you. I find it challenging to answer that question right now, but I’ll get back to it in next month’s newsletter”.

Tip This pragmatic approach has resulted often in praise for the speaker. Instead of going around it, you address the concern or at least give a professional follow up to it.

Post-event: How to follow up with unanswered comments?

At the end of the day you’ll have to get your message across. You simply can’t answer all the questions of an audience. With Sendsteps you store the raised questions and by using the upvoting option you can easily filter through the questions with most likes. From here you can decide on how to follow up:

  • Write a blog: In a blog you can address all questions that haven’t been answered during the presentation. Or at least find the common theme and elaborate on that. The blog can be mentioned in a post-event mailing or can be disclosed on an organization’s website.
  • Record a vlog: In a vlog you can do the same as in a blog. Simply record your answers on video and with it give it a personal touch. Video often scores well and it is great content to spice up the traditional post-event mailing!
  • Live backstage: During larger events you can consider a back office where speakers go to after their presentation. An interviewer can then ask those questions that are still unanswered. The backstage interview can be livestreamed on the event website. This allows a remote audience to also attend the event and it generates nice footage for after an event.
  • E-mail attendees: Or simply follow up personally. If you’ve allowed attendees to send in questions identified [a setting in your Sendsteps Dashboard], then you can e-mail them with a personal reaction. Time consuming? Yes, but often with a big impact!

Tip In all cases, make sure to communicate in advance on how you’ll deal with audience feedback. As such, attendees will feel encouraged throughout the event to keep sending in their questions, concerns and remarks. This gives you great insights and it will keep your audience engaged!

Tip: The use of a sidekick.

No matter if you’re using “upvoting” or not, it is helpful to have a professional sidekick onsite, in the audience. Somebody who represents the voice of the audience. The person either selects incoming messages himself, or he uses the ranking of the audience with it. The point is to have someone to put the questions into a perspective, to give a short summary of what has been shared and with it add to a lively presentation and event. This sidekick operates individually and next to a presenter and/or moderator. Someone supporting the process of audience interaction. Entertaining and valuable at the same time.

Important Please note that Sendsteps can help you with finding a professional sidekick for your event.

  • In short, involve the audience. Trust the flow that will come with it. Experience the added value for all stakeholders of an event. Set it up cleverly and let it work, not against you, but for you!

About the author

Robert DaverschotModerator | Presenter | Speaker Coach

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!


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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My presentation is successful | 3 checks on that!

Some of us are regularly involved in hosting groups. For instance, in the role of a trainer training course attendees, or in the role of a HR adviser welcoming new team members or maybe as specialist giving lectures. Isn’t it comfortable to then stick to a standardized story line? Simply, “because it has proven to be successful”? But did you ever ask your audience what they think? These 3 questions will quickly give you proof and insight:

Ask 3 Evaluating Questions
Ask your audience these 3 evaluating questions after every session:

  • How do you rate today’s session? [Scale 1: Very poor, 5: Very good]
  • Would you recommend this session to other professionals? [yes/no]
  • Can you give one suggestion to the speaker to improve his/her story?

With limited time you can leave out the second question. Be careful to over ask in case there’s more time to spend. There’s only that much that you can expect from your crowd.

Clever Timing of Evaluation
Ask your attendees to reply to these questions at the end of your session. Allow them to fill out these survey questions during the live session. Don’t send them home or into a break with this assignment. Dedicate 2 minutes of your session to this evaluation and be assured of a high response rate!

Sharing Evaluation Outcomes?

Do you dare to share the results directly onto the presentation screen? Then go ahead and make a transparent company culture concrete! Still, we don’t blame you for not doing so: simply gather the feedback in your back office and use it for your personal benefit and obviously: the improvement of your story line!

Your next session!

This all might sound so simple, but in practice speakers hardly apply this method. So did we challenge you to apply this to your next session? Good! Evaluate our blog and upon completion you’ll receive an invite for our upcoming webinar. In it we’ll quickly tell you how to setup your very own Sendsteps Survey!

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Your 20-minute speaking slot | 3 interaction moments

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!

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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How powerful questions inspire you to grow

We watched 35 videos to help you ask better questions, and then selected the 5 most useful and inspiring of them. To save you time you’ll find a summary for each one below. These videos try to make you a better listener, questioner, and leader….

Mike Vaughan’s thoughtful presentation gives valuable insights into why we should ask better questions. The way of getting from automatic and reactionary thinking to deep thinking:
1. Be aware of biological reactions
2. Embrace emotions like uncertainty, anxiety, and stress
3. Ask “What could we do?” instead of “What should we do?”
In her funny and entertaining presentation, Celeste Headlee collected 10 basic rules for having a better conversation.
1. Don’t multitask.
2. Don’t pontificate. Let others respond to your opinion.
3. Use open-ended questions.
4. Go with the flow. That means thoughts will come into your mind and you need to let them go out of your mind. While your partner talks to you, listen to what he says and don’t think about something else.
5. If you don’t know, say that you don’t know.
6. Don’t equate your experience with theirs. All experiences are unique.
7. Try not to repeat yourself.
8. Leave the details out. People don’t care about the years, the names, the dates.
9. Listen.
10. Be brief.
Julian Treasure advised us to do 5 simple exercises in order to improve our listening skills.
1. Be in silence for three minutes a day.
2. Pay attention to the sound. How many individual channels of sound can you hear?
3. Enjoy mundane sounds like a coffee grinder.
4. Change your listening position.
5. RASA stands for Receive, which means pay attention to the person; Appreciate, making little noises like “hmm,” “oh,” “okay”; Summarize, the word “so” is very important in communication; and Ask, ask questions afterward.
In her thought-provoking presentation, Rosalinde Torres declared that leadership in the 21st century is defined and evidenced by three questions.
1. Where are you looking to anticipate the next change to your business model or your life?
2. What is the diversity measure of your personal and professional stakeholder network?
3. Are you courageous enough to abandon a practice that has made you successful in the past?
Professor David Clutterbuck believes that powerful question is powerful because it has an impact, that is why the context makes the question powerful.
He created an acronym for defining a powerful question: PRAIRIE.
P stands for Personal because it relates to you.
R stands for Resonant because it hits you emotionally and intellectually.
A and I stand for Acute and Insensitive, which means it gets right to the point.
R stands for Reverberating because it keeps coming back to haunt you.
I stands for Innocent because it doesn’t have the agenda of the person asking it, it’s solely for the benefit of the person who’s being asked.
E stands for Explicit because it’s simply expressed.
This post is created by Szandra Karacsony.


Sendsteps believes that everybody should be able to speak up during presentations. We make free PPT software that allows your audience to vote and send messages live on your slides using their phone. Do you want to give it a try?

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