Make your presentations interactive and interesting

16th May 2017

Most people hate one-way presentations.

You know the type of thing – the presenter talks; the audience listens (or doesn’t).

But everyone prefers it when it’s interactive. It’s easier for the presenter – they don’t have to do all the talking. It’s miles more engaging for the audience.

So, interactivity is good.

But here’s a question for you: on a scale of 1-10, how interactive are your presentations?

Any score under eight is too low.

You want your audience more involved than that. Here’s how to bump up your score…

Remember: if you want presentations to be interactive, your audience has to say something.

And that’ll only happen because of one of two reasons:

  • They proactively chip-in; or
  • They answer your questions

The trouble with the first is… they might not.

So, the only way to guarantee your presentations are interactive is to ask good questions.

So, when you prepare, as well as doing slides and run-throughs, you also need to script and practise the questions you’ll ask.

And aim for at least one question on every slide.

These questions should be both First Questions and Second Questions (where you probe into their answers to your Firsts).

For example, one of my customers recently delivered a sales pitch which contained a slide “The four main benefits of choosing us”.

It was a beautifully-crafted slide, packed with compelling benefits… But, until I intervened, they were planning to show the slide, read the benefits, and then hurtle to the next slide.

So, we scripted and practised questions. And, on the day, this slide was up for over ten minutes. And their questions went like this…

  • So these are the four benefits that we see. What do you think of them?
  • And have we missed any?
  • Which of these benefits is most important to your business?
  • Why’s that?
  • So how quickly would you like to get that benefit?
  • Why’s that?
  • We can jump on that immediately for you. Have you got the capacity to work with us on it now?
  • That all sounds great. But do you have any concerns about how this might work?
  • I have a few thoughts as to how we could overcome that. But, before I share those, what do you think we could do about this?
  • Why’s that?
  • How about if we also did X?
  • So, we’ve agreed the main benefit is XXXX. What do you think is the next most critical?
  • Why’s that?
  • And so on

As I said, this slide was up for over ten minutes. Read all these questions out loud and it takes one minute max. That means the audience was talking for nine of the ten minutes.

Fully interactive. Fully engaged.

And you’ll never guess what…

… my customer won the business. The feedback they got: “We absolutely got the benefits you’re bringing us, how quickly they’ll happen and our role in ensuring they happen. It was a no-brainer choosing you.”

If you and I were chatting now – rather than you reading my email – I would have scripted and practised this question to ask you now – “when’s your next presentation that you can use this technique?”

But we aren’t chatting. So…

Action point

Identify the next presentation you’re doing, where you could incorporate more questions.

Then, script and practise them – both First and Seconds. Such that these questions feel as comfortable to you as your content.

And, for more guidance on all four aspects of mastering presentations – content, visuals, delivery and confidence – check out Month #4 of my online Video Club here.

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