It’s no easy feat commanding an audience of hundreds or thousands of people.
Whether you’re a college professor delivering a lecture, a keynote speaker headlining an event, or another kind of presenter, the only way to drive your message home is to engage your audience honestly.
And the more people you face staring back at you when you take the stage, the more daunting this task can seem.
Captivating large audiences during presentations is a challenge, but these creative event ideas will help you grab and hold viewers’ attention.
Know Your Audience
The basis of any effective presentation is the content matching its recipients.
If your presentation is too lofty for your audience, you’ll risk losing their undivided attention due to confusion or frustration. If your submission is overly simplified or obvious, observers will quickly become bored.
Only when you understand your audience thoroughly can you craft a presentation that’s a perfect fit—and therefore much likelier to be captivating.
According to one public speaking expert, here’s what you should ask yourself when you’re creating your presentation:
- What’s the nature of your performance?
- Who is the audience for this presentation?
- What value are you providing to your audience?
- What is your desired call to action?
Take great care to make sure your presentation meets the needs of your intended audience.
Even a charismatically delivered performance will fail to connect with viewers if the content itself misses the mark.
Incorporate Interactive Participation
Speaking at your audience will only get you so far. To be exact, you’ll only reach the end of viewers’ finite attention spans before your luck runs out.
Somewhere around the 20-minute mark, you’ll inevitably start to notice classic signs of disengagement like fidgeting—that is, unless you take measures to engage your audience actively.
Speaking with your audience means creating a two-way dialogue. And just like in any one-on-one conversation, both sides have a more memorable experience if there’s give and take.
There are many creative event ideas from Poll Everywhere you can use to infuse your presentation with interactivity.
Start simple: Ask your audience questions throughout your presentation; they can answer using their mobile devices. The results will display in real-time, giving you a jumping-off point for your dialogue.
You can even kick things up a notch by hosting a trivia contest to help viewers review and retain what they’ve learned. You can also use the same audience response technology to solicit thoughtful questions from your audience, allowing you to clear up any points of confusion and address viewers’ most burning questions while you’re still on stage.
Add Interest with Visual Aids
It’s a challenge for even the most determined individuals to stay focused on written and spoken words alone.
Most people are visual learners, meaning reading text on a slide and hearing you talk isn’t going to be enough to drive your points home.
Using visual aids to illustrate your points and supplement your words goes a long way in adding interest to a presentation.
What kind of visual aids should you incorporate?
Well, that depends on the subject matter and format of your presentation. But rest assured you have plenty of options from which to choose: graphs, charts, infographics, photographs, maps, video clips, physical props, etc.
The most important thing is that the visual elements you choose to complement your words rather than compete with them. Successfully captivating large audiences with a presentation is primarily a matter of getting creative.
First, make sure you understand who your audience is and what they expect from you. Then breathe life into your presentation with visual aids and interactive prompts.