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5 Presentation Tools to Encourage Audience Interaction

Encouraging audience interaction can do a lot for your presentation. At a time when almost anyone can share their thoughts and ideas online, audiences crave to be heard.

They’re looking for similar opportunities to connect and participate during your presentation. When you open the floor to allow their opinions in, you’ll find that their input can add an interesting new dimension to the ideas you’re sharing.

The best way to go about this is by allowing them to ask questions and share comments.

While this is an easy task for small group presentations, it’s a lot more difficult when you’re facing an audience of about 50 or so people. Luckily, there are plenty of ways you can encourage audience interaction without having to waste valuable presentation time.

All you have to do is set up a poll at strategic points of your presentation.

If you want to see the diversity of opinions in your audience and use that to add flavor to your discussion, here are a few presentation tools that will allow you to encourage audience interaction:

IQPolls

audience iqpolls
IQPolls.com

IQPolls‘ response system lets audience answer questions immediately via their mobile devices. You can create a voting scale that they can respond to with a click of a button. Allow them to type down their thoughts to send your way. Best of all, you can embed the poll you made to your PowerPoint presentation to be able to show the real-time results.

DirectPoll

audience directpoll
DirectPoll.com

DirectPoll is pretty easy to set up. All you have to do is visit their website and start adding questions you want to ask, along with the answers you want to measure. When you’re done you can save your poll and access it through your browser.

Presentain

audience presentain
Presentain.com

Aside from allowing you to set up polls for the audience to answer, you can also use Presentain to receive direct inquiries. Its use doesn’t stop at audience interaction either. It also allows you to use your phone as a timer and recorder. However, the most notable of its extra features is the recorder. When you record your presentation, you can share it online and stumble upon a larger audience.

SlideKlowd

audience slideklowd
SlideKlowd.com

As its name suggests, SlideKlowd utilizes cloud technology to receive questions, check for attendance, and conduct polls. It also gathers some useful data to help you measure audience interaction. Having that data will definitely be useful to see how you can improve your presentations in the long-run.

Sli.do

audience slido
Sli.do

Sli.do is the perfect tool for bigger presentations and events. Using a unique code, your audience can access a platform where they can ask questions, answer live polls, and share their opinions. You can also use Sli.do to display a Twitter feed for a specific hashtag.

Audiences love a good show, but love being able to take part in that show even more. If your topic calls for it, why not consider encouraging audience interaction in your presentations? It’s a great way to help create a valuable connection between you, your message, and the people you’re trying to reach.

 

References

How to Take Tough Questions Like a Presentation Expert.” SlideGenius, Inc.. July 16, 2015.
Interactive Presentations: Using Twitter to Break the Fourth Wall.” SlideGenius, Inc.. December 17, 2014. Accessed January 13, 2015.

 

Featured Image: Mike Fisher via Flickr

Listen Here: 5 Podcasts for the Busy Professional

With their recent popularity, podcasts can serve as the perfect information platform for busy professionals.

Unlike books, you can listen to podcasts and digest the same amount of information while you’re on the go. You don’t have to worry about setting aside a specific chunk of time from your schedule. You can easily garner useful facts and skills while you’re in the gym or going to work. For this reason, we’ve collected some podcasts that you can plug in if you’re looking to improve your business know-how, particularly in the areas of marketing and presentations.

1.) The Public Speaker’s Quick and Dirty Tips 

the public speaker podcast

Hosted by Lisa B. Marshall, this podcast offers exactly what its title suggests—easy-to-digest tips on presentations and public speaking. If you’re looking for a way to improve your communication skills, Lisa will answer questions and delve into presentation-related topics one episode at a time. While her discussions are usually pretty in-depth and exhaustive, she relays information without overwhelming her listeners. Best of all, you can easily check out the QDT website for a transcript in case you miss an episode.

2.) Marketing Over Coffee 

marketing over coffee podcast

Just like ‘The Public Speaker,’ this podcast airs bite-sized discussions that are exhaustive but not overwhelming. Hosted by John Wall and Christopher Penn, ‘Marketing Over Coffee’ covers a host of topics about traditional and digital marketing. In a span of about 20 minutes, you can learn helpful marketing techniques and easy-to-follow tips.  They’ve also done interviews with industry personalities such as Seth Godin, David Meerman Scott, and Simon Sinek. You can check this link for more information about the podcast and find notable episodes to download.

3.) Your Grand Idea

your grand idea podcast

Are you just starting up your business? If so, ‘Your Grand Idea’ is the perfect podcast for you. Hosted by Todd Skaggs and Kevin Carter, the podcast covers a wide variety of tips and case studies that will help your new venture move forward. What’s a better way to learn than by listening to the experiences of other entrepreneurs and professionals? Start listening to the 33 episodes available by visiting their website.

4.) The Toastmasters Podcast

toastmasters podcast

For more public speaking lessons, you can also tune into the Toastmasters Podcast. With hosts Bo Bennett, Ryan Levesque, and Greg Gazin, this podcast offers in-depth discussions that will help anyone improve their presentation skills. From lessons on using props during presentations to interviews with noted industry professionals, this podcast almost serves as a crash course on communication in the workplace. If you find yourself struggling with public speaking, the Toastmasters Podcast is a helpful antidote. Here’s a complete list of their available episodes.

5.) The Friday Hangout 

the friday hangout podcast

This podcast—hosted by Janet Fouts, Adam Helweh, and Steve Farnsworth—zeroes in on marketing in the digital world. There are plenty of discussions on social media marketing, branding, and PR to learn from, as well as interviews with a number of notable guests. The best thing about this podcast is how the three hosts inject elements of humor and fun in each episode, so it doesn’t feel like what you’re doing is all just for work. If you’re looking for a podcast that’s both engaging and informative, you can start listening to ‘The Friday Hangout’ here.

Podcasts can be your best source of information for today’s fast-moving world. Despite your tight schedule, you don’t have to forego learning important lessons that can help move your career forward. All you have to do is subscribe to these podcasts, plug in your headphones, and take a quick listen.

 

Featured Image: Robert Couse-Baker via flickr

Where to Find Unique Images for Your Presentation Design

The easiest way to elevate your presentation design is by finding images that match your message. As we’ve continuously emphasized, your visual aids play an important role in your presentations. Whether you choose PowerPoint or an alternative presentation software, the use of images is a better technique than filling the screen with bullet points and text. If you want the audience to remember what you say, illustrating your points with images can help you go a long way.

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Before you can create a presentation design that stands out, you’ll need to gather your resources. It’s easy to say that images can change the look of your presentation deck, but it’s a lot harder to find something that works well with the topic you’re covering. There’s a lot of stock images available online, but they often look generic and unimaginative. Your message is unique to your presentation, so the images you use should feel the same way.

Aside from browsing through Flickr, there are plenty resources you can turn to. Here’s a list of 7 great websites where you can find images for your presentation designs:

Death to the Stock Photo 

images-death to the stock

This site has become pretty popular recently, and it’s not hard to imagine why. In fact, we constantly use their images in this blog. Basically, the photographers running this site will send you a photo pack of 10 unique images every month. Each photo pack will revolve around a specific theme. Best of all, you’ll be able to receive it straight in your inbox. When you sign up for the first time, they’ll also give you a starter pack. Check out their website here.

Picjumbo

images-picjumbo

Picjumbo is another great resource for amazing images. Here, you can access a large collection of photos that you are free to use for both personal and commercial works. Browse through different categories like abstract, nature, technology, and food to find something that’s perfect for your presentation. The photographer Viktor Hanacek updates his collection regularly, so you won’t run out of choices. You can also sign up for a premium account to download exclusive collections. You can take a closer look here.

Superfamous Studios

images-superfamous studio

This website has a large collection of photographs by designer Folkert Gorter. The images you’ll find here are mostly of nature. There are a lot of scenic shots of mountains and oceans, but there are also macro shots of tree barks and leaves. If you’re looking for something a bit abstract or muted for your presentations, the images here are a great choice.

Startup Stock Photos 

images-startup

If you’re looking for images that feel closer to home, this website is where you should head next. As its name suggests, Startup Stock Photos has a collection of images documenting that startup life. There’s plenty of pictures of office spaces and colleagues discussing ideas over coffee. The images are by Sprint and you can use all of them for free. Browse through the collection here.

New Old Stock 

images-new old stock

Another site you need to take a look at is New Old Stock. Here, you’ll find vintage photos from the public archives curated and ready-to-use. Visit their site to learn more about using these images. You can also submit a photo or make a donation to keep the site going.

Life of Pix 

images-life of pix

Life of Pix is another great resource for high-resolution images. It’s a project by Leeroy, an advertising agency in Montreal and their group of photographers update the site weekly. You’ll find plenty of useful pictures under categories that are quite different from other websites. Some of these categories include “Construction” and “Industrial”. You can look at the rest here.

Gratisography

images-gratisography

If you’re looking for really unique images, this site has a pretty quirky collection. There’s plenty of pictures to be found in the Gratisography gallery including a picture of a person in a bunny suit and someone climbing inside a washing machine. Add some humor to your slides by checking out their website here.

There’s a lot of pressure to deliver a great presentation. Make sure your stand out by incorporating eye-catching and memorable visuals. The easiest way to do that is by using images for your presentation deck. Visit these websites to find something that will help illustrate and elevate your message. Do take note that the pictures in these websites are often free from copyright restrictions or under a creative commons license. Some of the images available might require attribution before you can use it.

 

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Featured Image: Startup Stock Photos

Presentation Science: 5 Thought-Provoking Presentation Resources You Need to See

A lot of presentations fall short because of insufficient preparation. Plenty of presenters have faced an audience thinking they can just “wing” the whole thing. While this technique may work for some, it’s not exactly a fool proof plan. When the stakes are high, we can’t just leave the outcome of our presentations to chance. That’s why it’s important to plan and prepare for presentations. Part of that process is to look out for new presentation resources that will help you improve your skills.

A successful presentation involves careful consideration. To communicate your message effectively, you need to take note of several different factors. Do your slides highlight your main points? Is your content memorable and easy to understand? Are the numbers and data well-represented with visuals? Is your presence on stage distracting the audience? Will your nervousness get the better of you once in front of everybody?

We’ve compiled 5 presentation resources that can help answer some of your important questions:

Reel your audience in with the power of curiosity

presentation resources 01

Curiosity: It Helps Us Learn, But Why? – NPR.org

While this article is mostly focused on the role of curiosity in the classroom, it also highlights information that is crucial for any presenter. The author cites a study that observed how our brain’s react to curiosity. According to the research, our brain’s chemistry changes when our curiosity is piqued, leading to better learning and information retention.

More reason to integrate storytelling in your presentations

presentation resources 02

Elemental Storytelling – NPR.org

Here, the author analyzes several pieces of art to learn why some things are more compelling than others. According to his assessment, the secret is in the “grab”. Like the best stories, your presentation should have an element that proves irresistible to the audience. This article also shows how you can use the same technique to improve your slide decks and visuals.

Handle tricky situations during the Q&A

presentation resources 03

The best way to win an argument – BBC.com

Knowing that the Q&A is often the most dreaded part of presentations, this article might be useful for overcoming some difficult scenarios. When faced with dissenting opinions from the audience, our natural response is to be defensive and list the same reasons we’ve already mentioned during the main presentation. According to a phenomenon called “the illusion of explanatory depth,” this will only fuel your disagreement. Instead of arguing your point, it might be better if you take the time to explain how it works. According to a study cited in the article, those who explained how the policy they were advocating for would work had better success at changing the minds of others.

Always turn your data into great visuals

presentation resources 04

The beauty of data visualization – TED.com

In this TED Talk, a data journalist talks about his work turning information into comprehensible visuals. According to him, the wealth of information around us can change the way we look at the world once they’re turned into graphics that are compelling and attractive.

The science behind your presentation anxiety

presentation resources 05

The Fear of Public Speaking – Psychology Today

We’ve written a lot about presentation anxiety and methods to beat it, but we have yet to get to the bottom of it. In this blog post, a psychologist explains why the fear of public speaking is so prevalent. She shares the process researchers use to figure out what causes presentation-related stress, and provides some insights on how knowledge of this process might help soothe your anxiety.

Before facing an audience, take some time to consider how you can improve the communication experience. Read these thought-provoking presentation resources to learn useful information that can improve the quality of your message.

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Featured Image: Death to the Stock Photo