Audience interaction makes a presentation more interesting and easier on everyone. It’s helpful to have strategies to get the audience involved early and often. People will pay attention if they know that at some point, they’ll have to participate. And providing the audience the opportunity to interact with each other adds a peer learning dimension to a presentation.
Following are few strategies you can utilize to make your sessions interactive:
Ask for interaction
Start your presentation by telling the audience you want their questions and that you expect interaction. Tell them when you’d like them to ask, and if you’ll have designated times for it.
This will help keep them paying attention and coming up with questions they want to ask you. If you’re speaking at a larger venue, like a conference,
Communicate don’t merely talk to the participants
It has to be a two way process; don’t read out or merely articulate the points on a slide; give examples to illustrate; get them to write/ read/ respond/ reflect/share
Get participants engaged
Ask questions and get a meaningful reply, throw up challenges; get a volunteer to illustrate on the board or white paper; quiz them, play a game, give them some assignment to do before the breaks, form groups and get them to do a group work.
Encouragement / rewards get them interested
Be patient, be positive, enable participants to be comfortable by giving them hints and clues to the answers you seek, NEVER be disparaging or sarcastic. If possible introduce some small inducements like giving out something for right answers.
Have variety inbuilt in the program
A typical day long session would be broadly divided into 4 sessions. The biggest challenge is the post lunch session. Ensure that there is maximum participation in this session by less theoretical inputs and having ample activities and games. The ideal situation is where all key learning points can be illustrated by the participants themselves through an exercise/ game/ activity.
Learn to use humor effectively
Humor is a key ingredient that spurs interest, reinforces learning and grabs the attention of participants. However using humor is tricky because sometimes the gags/ jokes may fall flat, they could be used inappropriately, it could be irrelevant at times and sometimes it could be to caustic and alienate the participant. It is essential that you prepare, practice and then use humour. Once you get the hang of using it well it is one of the most effective means of engaging participants.
Conducting an interactive session is very important to create an effective rapport between the trainer and the audience. Interactive sessions help to create a bridge of communication and confidence between the participants and the trainer. An interactive session helps in a lot of other ways to make the training more effective. Interactive session helps to gain productive information on the interests of the audience and their activities to create effective training modules as per their needs.