Thursday, January 21, 2016

Tips for Increasing Audience Participation

yawning woman

Question:

During our interactive sessions the audience seems to participate less and less as time goes by. How can I maintain their interest?

Answer:

Here are some tips for increasing participation:

  • Engage the audience. Ask questions that are meaningful to the audience. They will be interested and participate if they are learning about themselves or their group.
  • Ask questions that are a catalyst for thought and action.
  • Less is more! Ask only the most important, basic and meaningful questions. Refine them down to the best most basic and meaningful few. Trash all of the rest.
  • Generate a discovery process about the issues. This is an opportunity for the individuals to discover how their opinions fit into those of the group and for the group to discover its opinions.
  • Since everyone does not always vote, display results as percentages instead of raw numbers to avoid confusion with the diminishing or changing numbers.
  • Don’t always have the same question format - mix it up. Don’t frame every question as Yes or No, or Multiple Choice.
  • Don’t list 9 possible choices per question when 3 or 4 will do.
  • Make the voting screens (slides) a little different visually from the rest of the presentation. This will immediately alert the audience to prepare to vote.
  • Prompt the audience when it is time to vote.
  • Do a few unexpected things.
  • Do NOT work in a dark room.
  • Use music, lights, bright colors and animation on screen. Do a few unexpected things.
  • The essence of comedy is surprise. Surprise everyone with a running gag. Open the session by asking a fun warmup question. It might be an inside joke, or about someone’s golf score, or the reason for their attending the meeting is that the coffee is free. When things get too serious, or dull, surprise everyone. Use the running gag, “Let’s see how the people who are here for the free coffee responded to this question.”
  • Last, but not least. Give me a break! Remember that the mind cannot absorb what the seat cannot endure!

With over 30 years of experience in helping clients achieve their meetings goals. I am passionate about the power of insight. If I can help your firm discover this power, please contact me.

Alan Warshaw
President
Quick Tally® Interactive Systems, Inc.
Direct Dial: 310.306.4930


About Me

After graduating from New York University with a degree in Communications, Alan attended the New School for Social Research, Graduate School at N.Y.U. and the Master’s Program in Cinema at U.C.L.A. Following his service in the U.S. Army, Alan was employed by Doyle, Dane and Burnbach Advertising Agency. He worked in the U.S. and Europe in the feature motion picture production business. He was employed by Quick Tally Interactive Systems for one year prior to acquiring the company. He has owned and run the company for almost three decades and has pioneered in the manufacturing of ARS equipment and providing interactive event services. In addition to US State and Federal Government Agencies, America's leading companies, associations and television networks, he has also worked for events clients in the EU, New Zealand, Hong Kong Thailand and Dubai.