Engage your Gen-Y audience

By Kendall Martin

There is an increasing demand for interaction between public speakers and younger-generation audiences. You can’t simply talk at a Gen-Y audience. Younger people, with access to Internet and social media wherever they go, require more participation in order to become and remain engaged. Learning how to effectively interact and engage with audiences is crucial for any presenter who speaks to that demographic, but it’s really a skill that will prove useful with all audiences

Follow these tips for an interactive presentation:

  • Invite interaction. It may seem obvious, but you can’t assume your audience will know that they are welcome to ask questions, give comments or interact with you. Tell your audience that you want their feedback. Ask for questions. Give them cues to engage with you.
  • Use physical activity. Ask for a show of hands. Get the audience to stand up or—for select groups—to participate physically, and you will automatically grab their attention. If an audience is made to sit still in their chairs for the duration of your presentation, they likely will become bored, distracted and disengaged.
  • Connect directly. Make eye contact with audience members and return smiles. Take cues from your audience, and determine your next move accordingly. If you see yawning or fidgeting, then it’s time to shake things up. Direct a question or call to action to your audience.
  • Break into groups or pairs. Some people may be intimidated to participate in a large audience. Ease their fear by breaking the audience into small groups or pairs where they can discuss a topic or participate in icebreakers.

What tips or tricks do you have for encouraging audience participation?

[Image Source: adactio]

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