There are different kinds of presentations, but most of us would agree that presenting to a large crowd is the most daunting kind of presentation of them all. In this kind, you are supposed to engage an audience of 200 or more, and chances are, you don’t know any of them. It can be challenging to connect with such an audience, much less entertain them and pique their interest. But if others can do it, so can you. Do you want to know how you can deal with a large group when making a presentation? Here’s how you can effectively handle presenting to a large crowd.
The basic structure of such an event
If you are presenting to over 100 people, then you can already classify it as a large crowd. Conferences and other similar events have large crowds, and this is where there are often several speakers as well as a formal schedule and programme for each presentation. In events like these, several presentations may be going on all at the same time. Large presentations are plenaries, and they often involve all the attendees, while small presentations are referred to as workshops or breakouts and may involve a limited number of attendees. When you are presenting at such an event, the seats may be in a theatre style (in rows), but it may also be in a café style consisting of large tables seating 10 to 12 individuals.
The key factors you should consider
There are some key factors you should consider, such as the positioning and the equipment. In a large event, you will often have a stage or podium where you can stand. Bear in mind that because of your position, you will be physically away from your audience in both height and distance. For this kind of event, you will usually have access to professional systems and equipment. You may be asked to send out your presentation before the event, and they will load it for you. You may also have a wireless control system to manage your slides as well as a microphone which is wireless. Some events may even have cameras which project you onto a large screen so the audience at the back can still see you.
How you can deal with a large audience
Since you are physically away from your audience, you have to work harder to establish rapport. One tip would be to use increased tone variation when you speak so that your audience has a better chance of understanding you and relating to what you are saying. And even if you can’t see every face clearly, remember that they can see you – so look around and smile. Your audience will feel that you are personally engaging with them.
Of course, another thing you can do is to make your topic more exciting and engaging. Think about making use of humour and anecdotes, and don’t be afraid to move around and exaggerate your movements. Make sure you are very familiar with your topic, as this will make you feel confident – and the more confidence you have, the more your audience will respond.
One more tip: after your presentation, be ready with your handouts and materials. If any of the audience members approach you, present them with brochures or leaflets placed in sturdy and appealing A4 presentation folders. This way, you can give them more information about your topic and let them go home with something concrete regarding your presentation as well.