5 Ways to Deliver an Engaging Presentation for Both Virtual and In-Person Audiences

April 27, 2022


Intentional audience engagement should always be a priority as you prepare for your presentation. An engaging presentation will no doubt be more effective and memorable.

Whether you are doing an online or in-person presentation, here are some great tools to encourage engagement

  1. Start with IISSAAQQ

IISSAAQQ represents some great ways to start your presentation with the kind of wow factor and energy that will no doubt work really well to keep both in-person and digital audiences engaged from the get-go.

  • Icebreaker: A light joke or a short game will do just great to break the ice, and connect with your audience.
  • Illustration: Help paint a picture or scene for your audience, so they have something to relate to even as you begin your presentation. ”Remember when” and “Imagine” work great for illustrations.
  • Short Story: Share a short personal story with your audience to build that connection. It doesn’t have to be your own story.
  • Statistic or Fun Fact: Share a statistic or interesting fact, and you will get your audience to think, and may very well change their perspective, both of which will positively influence engagement.
  • Analogy: Use an analogy or metaphor to help break down what may be a complex concept into something simpler. Get it right with the analogy and your audience can now digest the concept better, and are more likely to be actively engaged.
  • Aphorism: Aphorisms are basically the common phrases your audience may be familiar with. Add a twist to the aphorism as applies to the subject of your presentation so it has that added effect.
  • Quote: Find quotes from what may be considered a reliable source , and as applies to your presentation to really grab your audience’s attention.
  • Question: A rhetorical question will get your audience thinking. Similarly, you can have ask an engaging question and have a few members of the audience share their answers to these questions.

2. Pay Attention to Length and Structure

Shorter is almost always better if you are looking to deliver an engaging presentation. The average human attention span keeps getting shorter. With this in mind, your audience may start out being fully engaged and active during the presentation, but that can only be for so long. Keeping your presentation short will also ensure you focus on the fundamental points and key takeaways of your presentation.

Playing around with the structure will also encourage engagement. Ditch the norm and what your audience is used to, and is no doubt expecting. Think of a movie that doesn’t follow any particular order and how much that in itself will have the audience paying more attention.

3. Reward Engagement

A reward system is, without doubt, one of the most popular incentives for both in-person and digital audiences.

One way to go about reward engagement is by recognizing the active audiences of your audience. A simple call-out, and a compliment for the active members may encourage others to be more active. Equally effective is splitting the attendees into teams. Each team will then earn a point every time a member of the team participates. You can offer any range of rewards, including branded merchandise for the winning team.

4. Implement Poling, or a Live Barometer

This tool or strategy, also known as body voting works great for in-person presentations. It is an excellent way to get the members of your audience moving and interacting with each other. Body voting is a great way to gauge your audience’s opinion on a particular topic.

Present a challenge or pose a statement to the audience. Have the attendees move to either side of the room, depending on whether they agree or disagree with the statement or challenge. You can then initiate an interactive session by having members from each team share why they hold their respective opinions on the topic.

You can also employ polling for digital presentations. Many webcasting platforms have in-built poling capabilities. To keep your audience engaged, run a poll by asking though-provoking questions or holding a competition, complete with a leadership board.

5. Moderated Chats and Q & A Segments

In a moderated chat, the attendees at your presentation get to interact with each other in addition to asking the presenter is an excellent way to facilitate conversation.

For Q & A, you can have it free flowing such that the audience can ask questions throughout the presentation. Alternatively, you can have a Q & A segment during or at the tail-end of your presentation. You can have the attendees prepare the questions beforehand, even before the presentation. Similarly, you can encourage them to compile a list of questions during the presentation. Another option is to give them some time after the presentation to come up with relevant questions.

With these tools and tricks, you can create an engaging experience for your audience. Whether an in-person or digital presentation, these tools will help inspire audience participation and help you have a meaningful connection.

About the Author: 

Kaitlin P. Hughes is the Digital Content Coordinator at ASAP. She has a background in both written and verbal communication. She previously worked as an office coordinator managing a staff of 15 undergraduate students. She has experience in public relations, marketing, scientific research, and prides herself in becoming a subject matter expert in whatever her current topic is.  Kaitlin is dedicated to professional development and educating her peers on anything and everything they can do to become a better version of themselves.

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