5 Hacks to Keep a Large Audience Interested

When attending a large workshop, lecture or presentation, most audience members expect a PowerPoint presentation and a paper handout or two. Many people may arrive at the venue expecting to be bored and quickly become engaged in their smartphones, notes or other distractions. Anonymity in a large crowd makes it easy for the audience members to not pay attention.

No matter how engaging, polished and interesting a speaker you are, you still stand to lose a good portion of your audience if you don’t keep the participants actively engaged. Busy people multitask, and the minute their minds wander away from your topic, they are disengaged with you while they are checking email, reviewing a to-do list or focusing on other material. However, as a presenter, if you create a unique experience, your audience will be invigorated and your presentation will be a memorable one.

1. Engaging Your Audience: Live Polling

Keeping your audience engaged in your presentation can be a challenge, but you can make it an easier process by offering the sophisticated technology of an audience response app as a part of your lecture materials. Your audience can engage with your presentation, influence its flow and become immersed in listening and responding rather than daydreaming or being distracted by other things.

At the beginning of your lecture, simply ask participants to access the audience response app on their smartphones, tablets or laptops. The interface provides an immediate interactive experience to get participants engaged and on your side. When asking for interaction, no longer will you need to call on a raised hand or try to make out a shout from your audience; with text polling, you can ask a question and get an immediate response from your entire audience.

The ability to provide input and an answer or opinion helps to keep large audiences engaged and ready to respond to your requests. No longer is the smartphone a potential distraction for your audience; it is a tool to help keep the participants engaged throughout your presentation.

2. Pushing Content and Charts to Your Audience

With a smartphone audience response system that allows you to push content or charts to your audience, the days of watching your audience squint at a centrally located screen are over. With the ability to read along with your diagrams and charts, your interactive audience remains immersed in the material you are presenting. Because they won’t need to take notes since the details of your presentation are in their hands, you can continue to capture the attention of your undistracted audience.

Using live polling and pushing the results to your audience will be an especially unique and engaging way to share real-time results with this sophisticated technology. Your audience won’t need to wonder what the opinions of others in the room might be; they can immediately see the answers or opinions of others when you display the results of text polling as a part of your presentation.

  1. Taking Live Questions Without Disruptions

With a sophisticated smartphone audience response app, participants can ask you questions during the course of the lecture. As you look around the room, do you see quizzical expressions or confused looks? You won’t need to wonder why, as those questions can come to you via the audience response system during the course of your presentation. Unique questions may remind you to emphasize specific points, and groups of similar questions may encourage you to backtrack and review specific details.

You can easily incorporate your responses to text polling and audience questions into your presentation, or you can use the questions you receive as a gauge to help you recognize points your audience may be struggling to absorb. Your ability to be flexible based on the feedback of your audience will morph your presentation into one that is uniquely tailored to their needs and addresses their specific interests or topics of concern.

Although asking questions, making comments and requesting clarification can be a disruption for a large audience, a smartphone audience response system makes questions a seamless part of your presentation. Additionally, offering short quizzes for your participants can help you to assess their involvement, knowledge and retention of the material you are presenting. When your audience knows a quiz is forthcoming, they will be more likely to remain engaged during your presentation so they can achieve a solid score.

4. Stimulating Discussions and Activities

Splitting your audience into groups for in-depth discussion, brainstorming or individual topics can enhance creativity and personal expression. Breaking up your presentation by asking your audience to stand, move around the room or break into groups for intensive discussions can also help to re-energize the audience as a whole and bring a new focus to the material. Audience activities can help to reinforce learning with the stimulation of physical movement, and a unique activity will be memorable. It will also help you to relax and develop a rapport between yourself and your audience members.

5. Post-Presentation Surveys

Getting feedback from your audience following your presentation has traditionally been a time-consuming and inefficient process with low participation. Distributing a printed survey or asking participants to email their survey after returning home is guaranteed to result in hasty responses or no responses at all. A live polling survey conducted via the smartphone audience response system prior to the completion of your presentation will ensure that you gain full participation with the benefit of a fresh perspective. This efficient tool makes providing responses easy for the participants, and you gain immediate feedback that is complete and accurate.

If you offer frequent lectures, workshops or presentations, you may find that you’ve fallen into the trap of providing tired content with an established method of delivery; you may also notice that your audiences are distracted or unengaged. By adding the sophisticated technology of an audience response app and unique activities to your presentation structure, you will re-engage both yourself and your audience.