Ideas for Creating More Engagement During Your Presentations

Engaging Presentations for Work

Let’s be honest. Not every presentation is going to elicit a standing ovation. Sometimes you’re the unlucky chap who has to give the annual presentation on fire safety. Sometimes you have to explain the extremely complicated and technical aspects of a new product to investors, and it just isn’t fun. So what can you do to make even the driest of presentations more entertaining and fun?

Here are three simple tips for improving engagement during presentations. 

1. Incorporate StoryIt’s almost certainly advice that you’ve heard before, but it bears repeating. Story is an incredibly powerful tool. When information is couched within a narrative; when your presentation itself is structured like a narrative with a clear beginning, middle, and end, when you can incorporate characters who have goals and conflict standing in their path… you’re going to end up creating more engaging presentations.  

How to do it? Your exact strategy will vary from presentation to presentation, but one sure-fire route is to create a hypothetical person to base your presentation around. Take the fire safety example: your co-workers might be a lot more interested in where their closest emergency exit is if they also want to know whether fictional Susie Loo who hides her cat in a file cabinet at work every day is going to make it out safely. 

2. Avoid the PowerPoint Doom LoopWalking into a meeting with PowerPoint slides is essentially an invitation to your audience to mentally check out. That isn’t to say that you can’t give a great presentation with PowerPoint, but PowerPoint is no longer the only option. Plenty of online services let you create presentations that are much more dynamic and visually interesting than PowerPoint. 

If you’re stuck with PowerPoint or resistant to try something different, take advantage of PowerPoint’s many, many functions. Add in a bit of comedic music at a key moment, or add in a video from YouTube. Just don’t let spectacle overtake the point you’re trying to make. 

3. Ask/Take QuestionsThe more you can do to make your presentation interactive whenever possible, the more people are going to engage with what you’re saying. Ask for examples from the crowd, allow time for questions, encourage small group debates, incorporate ice-breaker activities. The actual audience participation elements that you choose to use will depend upon the nature of your presentation, but the main thing to keep in mind is that your presentation isn’t about you – it’s about your audience.