21 Ways to Make Your Presentation Interactive

presentation tipsWhile every adult’s attention span is different experts believe that most people listening to a speaker have a “settling in” period of about 5 to 6 minutes. After that? Well if you’re just talking, if you’re asking your audience to simply sit and listen -the absolute lowest form of engagement- their minds will start to wander. It takes very little time for an audience to check out. If you don’t want your participants making their mental grocery list on your watch you have to force them to engage. How? By building in opportunities to participate. Here’s my list of 21 ways to create interaction and participation in a presentation, workshop, or meeting:

  • List making
  • Discussion questions
  • Divide participants into workgroups
  • Play a game
  • Role playing
  • Create a competition
  • Poll the audience
  • Ask for stories
  • Trivia questions
  • Skill practice exercises
  • Worksheets/Workbooks
  • Ask for examples
  • Case studies
  • Move participants around the room
  • Execute a demonstration with volunteers
  • Go around the room and do introductions
  • Use an icebreaker or teambuilder
  • Quizzes
  • Ask participants to draw a picture of…
  • Encourage participants to live-Tweet key points from the presentation
  • At the end ask everyone to summarize what they learned or share the “most significant thing you heard today.”

Many of these can be combined for maximum effect. Do a speed-quiz and give out a prize to the participant with the most correct answers. Divide participants into small groups and have them make a list (in response to your prepared question) which they will report out to the larger group. Obviously some of the suggestions here may not be appropriate for all audiences.  You probably don’t want to start a formal presentation to a Board of Directors by announcing “Let’s all draw a picture of our financial projections and explain it to our neighbor!” Evaluate your audience, the setting, and the participation device to determine best fit.

Now it’s your turn? What did I miss?  Add to my list by using the comment box below!



6 thoughts on “21 Ways to Make Your Presentation Interactive

  1. I like to ask participants what they are hoping to learn from the presentation and make notes. During the presentation, I try to integrate what they are hoping to learn. At the end, I go back over the notes and make sure I was able to cover all of the requested information.

    • Great suggestion, Scott. I do this as well. It also demonstrates A) that you care about meeting their needs and B) that you are confident enough as a facilitator to flex your content and approach in order to meet them. Thanks for sharing!

  2. Thank you for the information! Presentations always seem wonderful in theory..until you’re up there infront of everyone lol. Will def use the notes, specifically the speed quiz and prize going forward 🙂 Tx!
    AurumEve.com ~ Global Jewelry

  3. Pingback: DID YOU KNOW? | Inch by Inch: A Blog for Leaders

  4. Thank you for sharing. I have used some of these and just learned several others here. The speed quiz is one I am going to use in my upcoming workshop.

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