You’ve done the research. You’ve compiled an outline. You’ve practiced your public speaking skills in front of your mirror, friends or colleagues. So, you’re ready to take the stage for the real thing, right? Not quite. Before you do, it pays to consider how you plan to interact with your audience. The last thing you want is to “lose” your audience in real time as viewers slip further into an inactive role. Rather, an effective presentation needs to be “staged as if it is a direct conversation between two interested parties (the presenter and the audience).”
Here are four of the important benefits you’ll reap by making your presentation more interactive.
#1: Higher Levels of Audience Engagement
First and foremost, interaction increases audience engagement. From an audience member’s point of view, consider the difference between someone speaking at you for a long period of time vs. someone conversing with you. Asking audience members to become participants gives them a compelling reason to tune in—ultimately helping them get more value out of the session.
There are many ways to use interactive presentation slides alongside an audience response system like Poll Everywhere to engage your audience. Here are a handful of ideas for boosting interactivity:
- “Choose your adventure”: Let an audience vote determine what they want to learn about next.
- Continual Q&A: Instead of asking people to hold their questions until the end, allow them to submit queries and comments throughout so you can address the most important ones as they surface.
- Anonymous feedback: Empower audience members to offer honest, valuable feedback without needing to attach their identity.
- Check for audience retention: Check in on how well your audience is understanding and remembering key points with a series of quick multiple-choice quizzes.
- Build something together: Create a group word cloud or complete a communal icebreaker to bring people together.
You’re also battling the limited human attention span every time you take the stage. Interactivity helps re-engage people who may have lost the thread of your presentation, giving them a compelling reason to refocus on your material.
#2: Better Retention of Information
Better engagement leads to better retention, simple as that. As Training Industry notes, studies have shown that higher engagement during training results in better retention and “recall of knowledge on the part of the learner.” No matter what kind of presentation you’re delivering, training or otherwise, it’s always desirable when the audience leaves with a lasting impression.
Use interactivity to bring concepts off the screen and into real life.
#3: Allows for More Personalized Delivery
Connecting with your audience is highly important. You want viewers to feel like you created the presentation just for them—whether or not that’s true. Adding interactive elements into an existing presentation adds another layer of customizability based on how the audience responds to prompts. It gives participants the power to ask questions, offer feedback and answer polls; it gives presenters a jumping-off point from which to personalize the journey.
#4: Adds a Layer of Fun, Novelty or Team Building
Think back to your early school years. You can probably remember at least one specific lesson, even from so many years ago. How did teachers manage to convince a classroom full of kids to actually learn? Hint: By making learning fun. There was candy, song, dance, hands-on movement, educational games, etc.
Well, adults appreciate fun and novelty, too—especially to break up a lecture-style presentation format. Allowing people to use their mobile devices to participate in games, polls and icebreaker activities taps into this lasting human instinct.
These are just four of the many benefits of creating interactive presentations. Boosting engagement boosts retention as well as enjoyment, all important ingredients in giving a great presentation.