Event attendees thirst for interactive content more than ever before. 48% more since last year, to be exact. This gives presenters and educators a clear signal: one-way information transfer is not enough.
To help your audience get the most out of your presentation or training session, enhance their learning experience with these five interactive activities that will leave people inspired.
To allow people to dive deeper into the topic, flip around the traditional presentation format with think-pair-share, an interactive teaching method popularized by Harvard Professor, Eric Mazur.
Here’s how it works: Give the listeners a thought-provoking question or statement, such as, “How would basketball be played on the Moon?” or, “In all low-income countries in the world today, how many girls finish primary school: 20, 40 or 60 percent?”
Let the audience think about it for two minutes. Then, run a poll and ask everyone to submit the answer they think is correct. This way, you will make people commit to their response.
Once they do so, ask each person to pair up with a peer who has a different view to discuss and convince each other of their answer. Five minutes later, everyone votes again to check whether people’s opinions have shifted.
Here is Professor Mazur’s own demonstration of this activity (starting at 30:18):
Tip: To get the discussion going, comment on the shifting votes and asks people who changed their minds to say why they did so.
To make your presentation more digestible and fun, involve your audience in scenario-solving.
Using new learnings immediately in order to solve a problem in a familiar context will help people understand and remember it.
This format worked really well during our recent all-company learning session about cultural differences in business communication.
First, our Internal Communications Manager, Kristina, explained the main differences in communication between deal-focused and relationship-focused business cultures.
Then, she presented a few short business meeting scenarios, such as this one:
Based on the presented material, she let people discuss in pairs about how each story would end, and why, or why something happened in the story.
Five minutes later, she asked each person to select their answer in a multiple-choice live poll. Once enough results were in, she revealed and explained the correct answer.
For more inspiration, read how our Head of Education uses a Scenario Cards activity when she runs learning sessions during our masterclasses.
Taking the scenario exercise a step further, you can get people to re-enact a situation in a role- play. This half-scripted, half-improvized exercise allows the listeners to put themselves into someone else’s shoes and creatively examine a problem, from a new perspective.
This activity works great during training sessions, e.g. a customer support person dealing with an angry customer, or a sales person pitching the product to a potential client.
First, explain the situation and context. Ensure everyone is clear about the problem you want to work through and what you want to achieve.
Then, pick two or three people and give them a written description of their role, with some discussion pointers. Let them improvize to see how they would handle the situation.
In the end, let people analyze and discuss the role-play. Ask the actors to express how they felt in their roles, and link their insights to the lessons you’re trying to give.
Similar to role-plays, human barometer can help the participants explore the nuances of the topic you’re presenting. This exercise is mainly about incorporating movement into a debate between participants, while getting people to explore and express their opinion.
There are different ways to incorporate this format in your presentation. A fun and easy iteration often used by educators is a live barometer, also called ‘Pick a side’.
To kick things off, introduce a statement or a question, e.g., “The business impact of social media will diminish by 2030.” Give people a few minutes to form an opinion.
Then, let people think and take a stand on the topic – literally. Ask them to form a line along the wall, where the far left and right sides represent two opposing sides of the argument. The distance from the center shows how much they agree or disagree.
Once people commit to a position, facilitate the debate. Ask people furthest from the center on each side to explain their opinion. Compare their reasoning with those of someone from the middle of the line, and ask people to elaborate.
In the end, ask people to take a stance again. Invite them to either stay on the same spot, move closer to the center or completely switch sides, to check if their views have changed.
Quiz the audience
Asking thought-provoking questions is one of the oldest and most effective learning techniques. Take it up a notch and add a bit of competition: engage your listeners in a quiz.
You can use it as a fun way to present the information. For example, during a recent learning session on customer journey, our colleague, Martina, gamified her presentation and used quiz questions to share her data insights.
Before each new point in her presentation, she ran a poll to get people to think, such as this one:
She displayed a quiz question on the screen and let people think about the answer. Once everyone had voted, she revealed the correct answer and explained the context.
Adding the element of competition doesn’t just get people’s thinking caps on. What’s more, people start to care about getting the answers right, which makes the presented information stick.
Over to you
These interactive presentation ideas will give your audience a chance to think about the learning material and apply it to their lives.
Re-enacting real-life scenarios or answering quiz questions is a fun way to link new information to what people already know. As a result, people will get more invested in their own learning process and retain new information afterward.