The last thing any presenter wants is for people to leave the room thinking something along the lines of, “Well, that could have been an email.” A speaker’s goal is to bring information, data and ideas to life—to forge an authentic connection with audience members that enhances the message they’re conveying. Without this human element, presentations are little more than presentation decks, reports or handouts.
When you’re putting together a presentation, the foundation will always be the content you’re delivering. But the final impact depends on how you deliver this information and how you interact with its audience. Just like in any conversation, a little rapport goes a long way. These four tips for making a presentation more fun can help you get started.
Set the Tone with an Icebreaker
It can be tough for even the most attentive audience member to get in the right mindset without a warm-up exercise. This is especially true if you’re speaking at an event that involves attendees moving between multiple sessions. As the presenter, it behooves you to think about the collective energy of the audience—specifically whether you can do anything to bring people together.
The icebreaker you choose depends on the nature of your talk. If you’re addressing a room of strangers, it may help individuals feel more at home if you instruct them to introduce themselves to a neighbor by answering a few questions. If you’re addressing a large group, live polling is a good way to get people thinking and connecting. The questions you ask can be casual or more formally tied to your topic.
Work on an Energetic Delivery
Your body language, stage presence and vocal inflections will give audience member cues on how to interpret what you’re saying. Luckily, you don’t have to muster up the energy of a circus clown to engage your audience. It’s perfectly normal to be nervous, so it’s important to do everything you can to exude confidence once you start.
Positivity and practice will go a long way in this department. If you’re incorporating jokes or anecdotes, use them as an opportunity to speak conversationally with your audience; they’ll appreciate the camaraderie and it will help your ideas hit their marks.
Include an Interactive Presentation Game
Ask yourself: Are you giving your audience a reason to sit up, listen and actively engage with your material? Or are you talking at them, allowing viewers to slip into the role of passive observers? Something as simple as embedding interactive presentation games from Poll Everywhere can motivate people to tune in.
Here are a few popular examples of interactive games meant to involve audience members:
- Two truths and a lie: Create a multiple-choice poll with two truths and one lie, then ask audience members to identify the lie based on a question or image.
- Trivia contest: Design a competition in which people can use their mobile devices to vote, earning points and visibility on the leaderboard for correct answers.
- Would you rather?: Create a multiple-choice poll with two scenarios, then ask people to select which they’d choose. This is a great way to kick off a discussion.
Add Flair with Visual Aids
Most people are visual learners. Plus, it’s only natural to expect people’s eyes to scan their environment for cues. Capitalize on this instinct by using visual aids to back up your points, add interest and aid retention. Besides slideshows, there are many visual formats to consider: graphs and charts, video clips, props, etc.
Making your presentation more fun is one way to connect with your audience meaningfully, helping people engage and care about what they’re seeing.