3 Ways Promote Audience Participation
You’ve worked really hard on your presentation and are excited to showcase it to your audience. Your audience could be your team or another group within your company. However, as you are presenting, you realize the audience isn’t participating or engaging. This can be frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be this way! Below are 3 ways to help promote audience participation for your next presentation.
Our CEO and Founder, Jessica Chen, recently hosted a special LinkedIn Soulcast Media | LIVE event where she interviewed the CEO of Prezi, Jim Szafranski.
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1. Leave Space For Participation
How many times have you been in a meeting and the person presenting talks without pause? It happens to the best of us. As you plan for your presentation, consider at which points you will pause and leave space for participation to happen.
During the Soulast Media | LIVE, Jim shared how it is important for you to leave room for dialogue and participation. This gives people the opportunity to express themselves and their ideas.
Consider the following as you strategize how to leave space within your presentation.
- Pauses – Where will you pause during your presentation? During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared oftentimes people are so focused on getting their ideas out, they forget to pause. Include a few pauses – long enough to allow for participation to occur. When you pause you can ask a question to promote audience participation.
Chat Function – When you first start your virtual meeting, ask the audience to participate via the chat. Let them know this is the space for them to participate. You can ask a question encouraging everyone to answer. This question doesn’t have to be related to your topic, it could be what’s everyone eating for lunch? Or how many cats do we have participating today? Something light and fun will get your audience warmed up and will promote participation.
Presentation Tools – Presentation tools such as Prezi, allows the presenter to showcase their screen. The audience can respond and their responses can be seen side by side to the presenter. If you want to see how this works, be sure to watch the full LIVE where Jim demonstrates how this works. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jim shared that Prezi is always trying to create new ways for audiences to interact. Prezi gives the viewer the opportunity to participate by sharing gifs or stickers.
When you leave space for your audience, they will feel more comfortable participating.
2. Guide Your Audience
During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jessica shared one of her biggest tips to promote audience participation is to guide the audience. There are a few ways you can do this.
- Take Away – Say what you are hoping everyone walks away with – At the end of this presentation, I want everyone to walk away with ABC. Whatever you want people to walk away with, you have to say it and be clear. Because when they know what to expect, they can listen for that information.
- Add Numerical Lists – Think about the different points of your talk. Break them down into numbers and tell your audience. They can take notes, prepare questions, and have their expectations of the meeting met. You can say, I’m going to be telling you 3 things. Or, Here are 5 tips to be a more confident communicator. This will allow your audience to follow along with you.
- Adapt To Feedback – As you give your presentation, pay attention to how your audience is reacting. As you guide them through, you want to make sure your message is being heard the way you intended. This means you will have to adapt to the feedback you are receiving. As your audience participates, pay attention. You may need to guide them back to your presentation or you can guide them in another direction.
When you guide your audience, you give them the opportunity to participate. If your audience knows ahead of time what to expect, they can mentally prepare to ask these questions when the time comes.
In our e-course, Powerful Presentation Strategies, you will learn how to effectively communicate and engage your audience. This course will help take your next video meeting to the next level!
3. Show your personality
Engaging your audience also means being personal and making it a little bit more about you. Showing your personality is a great way to promote audience participation. Your personality is what makes you unique. During the Soulcast Media | LIVE, Jim talked about how he is continually trying to make sure he brings his personality to his meetings. In our e-course, The Art Of Communication, we talk about how to showcase your personality by authentic storytelling.
There are several ways you can showcase your personality to promote audience participation:
- Connection – Show why you care about this topic. How do you personally connect with this topic? The more you make that personal connection, the more trust and buy-in you will have from your audience.
- Share About You – Share experiences and share your journey. This doesn’t need to be the bulk of your talk, but it can help you connect with your audience. Your audience is more likely to participate if they feel like they know you.
- Graphics – Prezi gives you the opportunity to create custom graphics. You can put your name and logo on the graphic, or even make the graphic playful. This is a simple thing you can do during a video meeting to show how important the meeting is to you.
💡We recommend the e-course “Zoom: Leading Effective And Engaging Calls” to help you learn how to promote more audience participation in your next video meeting.
Your personality is a powerful tool you can use to promote audience participation. The more buy-in you have from your audience, the more they will participate.
Audience participation in video meetings can be a struggle. But the more you can promote participation by leaving space, showcasing your personality, and guiding your audience, the more your audience will feel comfortable engaging.
If you would like to see the full LIVE version of Jessica and Jim’s conversation, check out Jessica’s Youtube Channel.
Do you want to learn how to promote audience participation? Join our private communications group where you can work with our Soulcast Media team on your communications every month!
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