We've all been there...eyes drooping, head bobbing, sitting in a sea of people in a stale conference hall, wishing you were somewhere far far away in a place more like, well, your bed. Or the beach. Or at least somewhere with coffee.
Trying to stay awake in a boring presentation isn’t easy. But what’s worse than feeling like you can’t keep your eyes open during a presentation? Being the one on stage seeing the crowd melt away into boredom as you talk. Thankfully, there are ways to making your presentation more interactive and engaging.
By using polls throughout the entirety of the presentation, you can ensure that your audience stays engaged, that you have covered the topics thoroughly, and that there is a continuing interest in what you are saying.
- Break the ice. Each member of your audience will come to your presentation in a different mood. Some may be excited, while others may be exhausted. The best thing you can do it get them all on the same level (and ready to listen to you!) by breaking the ice. For example, ask a few people in the audience what they are most excited to learn about, or for a larger group, have them stand and introduce themselves to their neighbors. By starting in this manner, you show the audience that the presentation will be interactive and will require their attention.
- Tell a story. You want to introduce yourself and establish credibility on your subject, but you don’t want to bore your audience with a list of your accolades. Use this introduction as an opportunity to tell a story… talk about your background in a way that will make people want to find out what comes next. Or, better yet, start a story about a time when you needed the information you’re about to give, and then launch into your presentation. Your audience will stay engaged because they will want to hear the outcome of your story, which you can tell them at the end.
- Create simple slides. There are few things worse than listening to someone read a slide word-for-word as you stare into the abyss. And nothing will make your audience tune you out faster than if you sound like their eighth grade history teacher droning on about the Great Depression. Keep your presentation interesting by only including the most important words on the slides, and then expanding upon them as you talk.
- Add videos, memes, or gifs. Depending on the nature of the presentation, one easy way to make the presentation more exciting is by adding relevant videos, or incorporating funny memes or gifs into the slides. This is a great way to add a little bit of personality into the presentation, without taking away from the overall message. Afterall, who doesn’t love a little Overly Attached Girlfriend in the middle of a speech?
- Move around. Standing in the same place, whether behind a podium or just onstage, is boring for both the presenter and the audience. Inject some enthusiasm into your presentation by walking around, using gestures, and making a point to be near audience members. How much you move depends on the type of presentation, the nature of the material, and the layout of the room, but make an effort to give your audience something to view, other than you standing at the podium with clenched fists.
- Ask questions. The more questions you ask of your audience, the more likely you’re going to find what is important to them, and what they most want to hear about. And the more you know about what they want to hear about, the more targeted you can make your presentation. Take the time to ask questions at the beginning, as well as at the end of each major point you cover, and then tailor your speech to hit on what they want to know.
- Take advantage of polls. Depending on the nature of the presentation and the type of software that is being used, you may have access to an interactive feature that will allow you to create polls for the audience. While this is similar to the asking questions tip above, it tends to be even more interactive because everyone has the opportunity to answer rather than simply a select few members in the front few rows. With BlueJeans Events, polling is easy to set up both before the presentation and during it.
Using polls throughout the entirety of the presentation allows you to ensure that your audience stays engaged, that you have covered the topics thoroughly, and that there is a continuing interest in what you are saying.
By following the tips listed above, you can create and deliver a presentation that is more fun and engaging for your audience, which in turn, makes it more fun for you. All you need to become a more effective communicator (and to keep your audience awake!) is practice and some coffee.
About the Author
Jade Hill is the Content Marketing Manager at BlueJeans and runs the BlueJeans Resource Hub. She graduated from the University of Chicago and spent years working in higher education before transitioning to the world of digital marketing. When not writing blog posts or customer stories, Jade enjoys hiking with her dogs, reading, and exploring the California coast.More Content by Jade Hill