Have you ever sat through a presentation that was great in terms of the content and information, but felt a bit on the boring side? Eek, you don’t want to be that speaker! There are tons of ways to liven up that presentation and get your audience involved and interested, and here are our Top 11. Is there something we left out?
11 Creative Ways to Involve Your Audience
- Raise Your Hand If: This is an effective way to have your audience answer questions, show solidarity, see how their responses compare to those of others. An alternative is to ask your audience to all stand up, then “sit down if you _”. With each question, more and more people will sit down, leaving only one or two standing. This can be an interesting way to show how many people believe garden myths, for example, but can be used in any way you see adds value to your presentation.
- Use a Quiz: The quiz questions can be on your slides, but remember to have a way for people to write down their answers, particularly if you want them to assess how they answered in order to determine an outcome (“If you answered mostly Cs, you’re a XYZ gardener!”).
- Host a Giveaway: Put a sticky note underneath the seat of one or more chairs before the presentation. Lucky audience members in those seats get something fun—a drink ticket, a potted plant, a copy of your book, etc.
- Create an Icebreaker: Always fun to do at the beginning of a presentation or workshop, the icebreaker gets people to loosen up and feel connected. Make it simple by saying something like, “Turn to the person on your left and introduce yourself—who are you, where are you from, and what’s the thing you love most about ABC!”
- Have Audience Repeat Info: We’ve experienced a speaker who made the audience repeat some important bit of information and it was actually very funny. He asked the audience to raise their right hands and “repeat after me” to commit to not watering plants in the heat of the day.
- Ask a Question: Questions can be funny, informative, or thought-provoking. Don’t call on specific audience members for answers; simply let them shout it out or think silently about their reply.
- Get Them Moving: Movement is a great way to break up all the sitting audience members usually do during conferences and events. Try stretching halfway through your presentation, yoga moves for gardeners, safe gardening moves for people with arthritis, anything that gets them out of their chairs for a few minutes. One flower and garden show speaker routinely led their audience through the show garden floor to talk about garden design, and his audience members loved it.
- Include an Activity: Slightly different from the previous tip about getting your audience moving, an activity could be a group meditation, journaling prompts, deep breathing, a moment of silence—whatever relates to your topic.
- Use a Q & A: The Q & A is a great way to interact with your audience during or after your presentation—it gives them an opportunity to ask you anything about your topic. Not sure how to run a Q & A? Read our blog post!
- Break into Groups: Particularly valuable for slightly longer presentations, the “breakout session” allows audience members to join smaller groups for conversation or an activity. Be sure you let them know what you want them to do during this small group time (answer 2–3 specific questions, for example), and if reporting back to the larger group is included.
- Two Truths & a Lie: This is a fun one to use if you are presenting about almost anything (how to grow roses, pest management, color theory, garden design, etc.). Have several slides that include two true statements and one untrue statement and let the audience guess which one is the lie.