25 Ideas for Engagement in your Next Presentation

In the whole history of the world, there has never been a presenter who has been able to see whether his or her audience knows something, understands something or recognizes something. A piece of friendly advice as you begin mapping out the goal(s) for your next presentation: don’t go into your next presentation wanting your audience to know or understand or recognize something. You’ll never be able to see if you’ve accomplished your goal. It will be very unfulfilling for you.

Of course, you will be able to observe if your audience can describe something. Or create something. Or demonstrate something. Or compare and contrast various somethings. And when you give your audience an opportunity to describe or create or demonstrate or compare and contrast, they not only have to pay attention to what you’re saying, but they have to use what you’re saying to them. Which is an essential component to your audience being able to remember what you’ve said because, as the saying goes, if they don’t use what you’ve said or taught them, they’ll lose it.

Following are 25 suggestions on how to engage your audience. It’s influenced by Bloom’s Taxonomy, but I’ll save you all the technical teacher jargon and I’ll cut right to the ideas and activities that I hope you’ll find useful. I’ve broken this list into two categories: ideas to engage groups in shorter presentations (30 minutes or less) and ideas for longer presentations (an hour or more). I offer this breakdown because I’ve seen many facilitators (and I count myself among them) who routinely try to jam too many things into shorter presentations.

For shorter presentations, allow time for your attendees to:

List

Describe

Discuss

Write

Brainstorm

Ask questions about

Summarize

Restate

Draw

Opine about

Compare/contrast

Explain how the information you shared will impact their job

For longer presentations, challenge your attendees to:

Create

Design

Build

Develop

Evaluate

Provide peer feedback

Role play

Coach

Write a case study

Solve a problem (preferably a real-life problem)

Demonstrate

Play (who doesn’t like a good training board game or card game that aligns with the topic?)

Debate

What’s missing from these lists? Is there something you tend to do in order to engage your audience and ensure they “get it”? Add your thoughts to the comments section below.

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