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With more than a billion presentations given in one month, it’s no surprise some are really quite boring. After all, it’s much easier to recite information than to make an interactive presentation. If you truly want to connect with your audience, you can choose to make your presentations more engaging and interactive. 

It’s as simple as… 

1. Engage Early 

Your presentation starts the moment the meeting is announced—with your name on the agenda.  Pick up the phone and interview a few participants, email a simple survey, open discussion with a blog, post a question to a group on Linked In or Facebook, start a unique wiki about your presentation, etc. There are a ton of technologies out there to enable you to start the conversation before your presentation even begins. 

2. Involve the Audience 

When you ask an audience member to do something for you, she feels special.  She morphs into a participant while sending a subliminal signal to the rest of the audience that you are reaching out for help, and she might be more wiling to cooperate when you ask her to do something later.  It can be something as simple asking someone to be the timekeeper or a “runner.” Demonstrations, skits, competitions and role-plays are more complex interactions that take more thought and deliberate consideration, but have HUGE payoff because they are HUGELY memorable. 

3. Embrace Technology 

If 90% of your audience has a cell phone, then let the audience know how they can use it to respond to a poll or feed questions to you. If you are brave, project the feed onto a screen behind you (This is called a “twitterfall.”) so all can participate in the “back channel” discussion—the conversation going on in the room while you are speaking. Can’t make it to the meeting due to a volcanic dust cloud covering European airspace?  Skype it in—but only if you are extremely comfortable using the technology. 

When you prepare to be engaging and interactive, you go from boring to bravo in no time.
 


 Kristin Arnold, president of the National Speakers Association, is on a mission to make all meetings more engaging, interactive and collaborative through her new book, Boring to Bravo. Visit her website for more tips and techniques and to order your copy. 

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