Get Your Audience Involved

Interactive exercises provide a great addition to any presentation, even when you speak before large groups.

This active approach to learning engages audience members and helps get them on your side. Consider how many times you’ve been forced to listen to a speaker drone on, offering no interplay with you as an audience member. Great time to take a nap, isn’t it?

Audience reacts to panel 1One of the nice features of interactivity is its bountiful flexibility. For example, you can break out into small groups or pair off in twos, and have your audience practice a technique you just taught. Or you can ask your listeners to shout out responses to questions you pose, asking another attendee to capture the ideas on a flip chart.

Just be sure to make your exercises relevant. There are lots of books containing meaningless icebreakers. We’ve all been subjected to the speaker who scolds us if we don’t jump to our feet, clap our hands, and sing Kumbaya for no apparent reason.

Why would professionals seeking to sharpen a skill waste time developing limericks or pasting sticky-backed notes on each other’s foreheads? Avoid pointless activities. As you plan your remarks, work to ensure that any exercises align tightly with your topic.

Interactivity for its own sake is useless. Interactivity that fosters learning is golden.

What types of interactivity have you found successful with audiences you’ve addressed?

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