One of the biggest challenges for presenters is keeping the audience’s attention. You probably experienced it yourself: after a promising start, the speech slowly slips into the dull description of confusing charts, and you start checking your phone while your colleagues are falling asleep. The problem is not in the presentation formatting or quality (though it may be the case as well). People generally have a relatively short attention span. How to deal with this issue? The answer is simple — make your presentation interactive!
What is an interactive presentation?
There are two ways in which the “interactive” part can manifest itself. On the one hand, it is a presentation that actively encourages the audience to participate. On the other hand, it is a presentation that goes beyond text and visuals. Hyperlinks, videos, and other media can make your presentation more entertaining and, therefore — engaging. It is a nice step out of the usual linear presenting format that will make your speech more recognizable and memorable.
Why do you need one?
As it was already said, the main reason behind making an interactive presentation is to keep the audience’s attention. At the same time, it’s also about the quality and utility of your presentation. An interactive, engaging speech will result in the audience understanding your point much better. What is more, you’ll leave a lasting positive impression, which would be a significant “selling point” for the claims you spoke about. This is especially important if you are doing a sales presentation or pitching for the investments. So, let’s jump right to the tips on how to upgrade your presentation the “interactive” way!
Tip 1: Ask questions
This is the most basic way to spice up your presentation. Generally, the question time comes at the end of the presentation. But the truth is, especially for long presentations, that most of the listeners would already forget half of the information you resented by the time you’ve finished. At the same time, your presentation might have some concepts worth further explaining. Try dividing your speech into parts and spread some questions for the audience here and there. Your listeners will remain engaged, and for you, it would be a useful break from constant speaking!
Tip 2: Storytelling
An exciting story would most likely get a positive response from the audience. Storytelling can serve as an example to illustrate your points while also allowing the listeners to relax and rest from the facts and figures that are usually found in presentations. At the same time, a good story will make your concepts much more understandable. Overall, the stories are more grounded in real life, and it would be best if you’ll use something from your own experience for the presentation storytelling. This way, the audience would connect with you on a new level and perhaps even remember their similar personal experience — who knows?
Tip 3: Non-linear software
There’s a reason why the “death by PowerPoint” phrase exists. People got used to the common software. It is well-known, easy to use — and boring! The three most usual presentation redactors — PowerPoint, Keynote, and Google Slides all follow the same structure and patterns: square-shaped slides and list-type structure. Lesser used software allows you to break through the usual forms and create something more unique, and perhaps, more effective! For example, Presi allows for a non-linear presentation structure, and Vyond can turn your presentation into a small animated video. In any case, your presentation would look unusual and unique, and your audience will certainly appreciate it.
Tip 4: Spit some jokes
The best way to lighten up the mood and to connect with your audience is through the use of humor. It could be some visual details of your presentation (like illustrating your points with memes) or the jokes written into your script. There are two main rules you might want to follow with using humor, though. The first one is that your jokes should appear genuine: overused scripted lines will just make your look awkward. The other rule is to keep things appropriate. The humor suits most types of presentations, but the jokes should be unoffensive and accessible. If you are unsure whether your joke (or the humor use) will be appropriate, it’s better not to use it at all.
Tip 5: Use videos (and more!)
Learning how to embed a video in google slides or other software, as well as learning how to add audio or how to add voiceover, is a great addition to your presentation skills. Videos help better illustrate your point, while audio gives you more freedom. For example, add some background music to help set up the right mood for your presentation. A rather unusual approach would be to add voicemails to your slides to illustrate your points. Your audience will love it! You can also add gifs to your slides (especially meme ones), but keep in mind that a slide with a gif shouldn’t stay on for too long since the repetitive movement can be quite annoying.
Tip 6: Keep it simple
Though it may seem hard with all that stuff we’ve just covered, try to keep a simple presentation formatting. It’s best only to include one visual and several main points per slide. Slides with too much information can be quite confusing both for your audience and for you, especially in the case of charts or infographics. For the audience to interact with your presentation, it should be accessible. Try treating your presentation more like an ad: it should have eye-catching visuals, and the information should be brief, exact, and understandable.
There’s a ton of ways of making your presentation interactive. But overall, the rules are quite simple — make your presentation interesting, visually appealing, and connect to your audience with your speech. If you get all those ingredients right using some of the tips listed above, you will get a memorable presentation and an interesting discussion of your topic with the audience. In other words, your presentation would please both you and your listeners.