How do you measure audience engagement? You’ll certainly feel it! But also engaged audiences will remember more from your presentation than an audience that’s bored. So it’s important to work on engagement to achieve more than just entertainment.

A well known technique is to seek a connection with your audience from the start. But if you’re not feeling charismatic or full of any public speaking prowess, just how do you achieve it?

Our top advice is to explain how your presentation is about to be relevant to them. Why might it be of interest? What might they find out during the talk? If they have a role to play (a call to action to sign up, or book, or find out more) then explain how such a thing is going to help them, make their life easier, do their dishes. Use those first few slides to make it relevant!

Once you have done that, then simply keep them interested! But this is (of course) easier said than done…

Here are a few tips to further increase audience engagement:

  • Start your presentation by asking for a show of hands. For example, you could ask how many people in the audience already know about your subject. This sets the precedence that you are going to involve your audience throughout the presentation, and also gives you an idea of the level of knowledge in the room. In the virtual environment this also works well to reduce some of the likely multi-tasking.
  • Continue to ask questions during the presentation. You could pick on certain people if you want to, or just ask general questions to the room to encourage people to participate. Silence is awkward of course, but even having a spoken countdown of “3… 2…” can help someone who may be a bit reticent to speak up.
audience engagement illustration

Audience engagement is difficult

Give your presentation a strong story. This will help your audience follow, understand and remember your message. Stories are engaging. And well told, they lead to visualisation of your story – a strong memory boosting technique. We have more tips on structuring your presentation.

  • Introduce an activity, such as asking everyone to stand up. “Now sit down if you have experience of…”. This is a great idea for the 9 minute mark where attention naturally plummets. (This 9 minutes is probably shrinking on a yearly basis). You could do this with “hide your video feed” in the virtual environment for example.
  • Play a video clip to break the rhythm of “sameness” and keep variety through your presentation. Make sure the video is relevant and informational, but also short. The audience are not there to watch YouTube non-stop.
  • Ask your audience to participate personally: they can share their experiences and examples of the topic. People like to be involved, it also keeps the presentation relevant and allows your audience to relate the subject matter to personal experiences. The personal link helps us to remember more of the content.
  • Use Mentimeter, Slido or other interactive apps to measure interaction with your audience: These apps connect your audience, via their smartphone or other device, to your presentation. Enabling real-time polls, digital Q&A, social sharing, likes and slide downloads for the ultimate engagement experience.
  • We have said it before and will no doubt say it again: use good visuals. This is important. Delete the blocks of text and bullet points that will send your audience into reading deafness. Replace with well designed graphs, diagrams or eye catching photos that help to illustrate your messages.
  • Make sure your slides reflect the value of your brand. We’ve all seen badly designed slides at some point, these can distract from your message or bore everyone! Things that are nice to look at – will get looked at. If you need some design inspiration why not visit our portfolio.

We hope these tips help you to keep your audience engaged during your next presentation.