Action – The Key to Interactive Presentations

ActionThe most effective presentations…and by effective I mean presentations that actually impact an audience and give them something to remember long after the presentation ends…are those that engage the senses beyond hearing and sight. Yes, that means talking and showing a slide presentation is not enough to qualify as effective. There has to be something more. There has to be interaction.

The key to interaction is inviting the audience to action. This can be as simple as talking to the person next to you about a question or topic but I prefer real action. By that I mean getting up and moving around action. Having people line up by date of birth along the back wall is an action. Standing in a circle passing an object from person to person is an action. Standing back to back then turning on the count of three to match a hand motion or expression is an action. The list goes on and in a future post I’ll go into detail on how to structure an action that opens a presentation.

Getting an audience up and moving around accomplishes a couple of things. First it lets your audience know this is not a typical presentation. Second, it involves them from the start in ways that stir curiosity. When you can get people asking why they are doing something, what they are doing and what it has to do with the presentation you have drawn them in causing them to look for answers to those questions. You don’t start with questions but by starting with an activity you spark questions that the audience will want to answer.

The secret here is that it doesn’t matter what opening activity you choose. It can be any sort of fluff or foolishness. It can be a game of tag, a relay race, a game of hide ‘n’ seek, anything that you want to come up with. It’s not the opening activity that is important. It’s what you do with the opening activity that will make or break this type of presentation. That is a multi-step process that I’ll unfold through posts next week. Your assignment for the weekend is to think of fun games and activities you can ask an audience to participate in and start a list of those.

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