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When you give a presentation is it one-sided or two-sided?  When it’s one-sided, it tends to make your audience passive and therefore less interested as well as less likely to remember what you’ve said.  Not good for anyone!

Conversely, when your presentation is two-sided, it offers opportunities to interact and participate.  The benefit is that both attention and retention are increased. Whenever I conduct a presentation, I dedicate a good amount of time to planning ways my listeners can be actively involved vs. strictly listening.  This can include several options; here are some you may wish to consider:

1. Using a handout with fill-in-the blanks

2. Having a self-assessment tool

3. Asking thought-provoking questions

4. Offering the opportunity to practice a particular skill in a safe environment

5. Dividing participants into small groups to share their ideas and then debriefing as a large group

Whenever you opt for participation it’s vitally important that you do the following:

  • Create specific and well-defined instructions.
  • State the instructions in a slow and deliberate manner so others easily understand your expectations.
  • Make it known what the time allocation is for the task and then be sure to set a timer so you stay within that time frame.
  • Circulate among the participants to be responsive to any questions that come up while they’re working on the task.
  • Take time to let participants share what value or benefit they received from the task or activity.
  • Thank everyone for their participation so they feel valued.
  • After your presentation concludes, be sure to evaluate your interactive activities so you can improve upon them the next time you address a group.

In my experience, the more I give my audience a chance to Do It, the better the chances are They Remember.  Let me know what you find works well and please contact me if you’d like to discuss how you can apply interactivity to your next presentation or training.

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