When hosting an informative or conference type event, there’s really nothing worse than watching your audience slip into a comatose state while you’re speaking or presenting. Like any seasoned public speaker will tell you, the trick to keeping them in the palm of your hand is constant engagement. Here are a few small tricks for keeping your audience on their toes and on the edge of their seats:
- Use quick quizzes throughout to test their knowledge. A random questionnaire or quiz is also an excellent way to slip in a little subtle bragging and feed your audience new information that you might not be able to deliver through your speech or presentation – for instance “by what percentage did our client base grow in 2012?”
- Set mini tasks for your audience to complete. No audience member goes to an event or conference to yawn their way through a stack of slides – they want to participate! While challenging them, you can also utilise the opportunity to harvest new ideas and inspiration for your business or project.
- Have posters printed with a unique Twitter hash tag for your event and set up a projector through which the Twitter feed will be displayed. Before long, your audience will be having conversations with each other via the screen! What’s more, because Twitter is public, your event will get that much more exposure throughout – how’s that for Marketing 101?
- Get feedback through constant surveys. Whether they vote with their phones, through a social network, with pen and paper or custom voting devices, surveys are a fantastic way to make your audience feel like their opinion truly matters. And it’s a golden opportunity to capture valuable data and insights!
- Let your audience interact with each other through group tasks and discussions. Not only will this break the ice, but you’ll find that through the sharing of opinions, the audience members become more fired up about what it is that you’re presenting.
- Allow time for questions – not just at the end of the event, but at various intervals. By answering your audience’s questions throughout, you can keep track of what they’re thinking as well as keep them from overthinking matters that you don’t necessarily want them to wonder about too much.
- Keep your content riveting and interesting. Don’t fall into a rut and present your entire speech in bullet point form or as infographics – shake things up! And when the moment calls for it, pop an appropriate joke in the mix or tell a little personal experience story.
- Have mini giveaways throughout the event! If there’s one thing everyone loves, it’s winning something, and by something we mean anything from a branded pen to a book or a brand new tablet.
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