A valuable part of many presentations is the ideas that audience members provide and your answers to their questions. Everyone would benefit from this information but it is usually verbal and rarely recorded, unless someone is taking notes—and then someone has to write them up. How do you efficiently make this information available to everyone in your audience?
Collecting input from audience members is a great way to involve the audience during or after a presentation. A brainstorming session is one common scenario. If you are presenting ideas for new products, you can ask the audience to offer additional suggestions. This type of presentation may work best for an informal situation when you are working on a group project, deciding on future directions, or analyzing how past actions could have been improved.
At any presentation where you collect input or answer questions that would be useful to the audience, you can encourage greater involvement by creating slides on the fly, as you go. You do this in Normal view in PowerPoint, so you need to feel comfortable letting your audience seeing this view, not just slide show view.
To easily capture audience input or questions, create a slide at the end of your presentation called Ideas. Use the Title and Text layout. When audience members offer ideas, use your laptop connected to the projector to type them in the text area. Press Enter for each new idea to start a new bullet point.
When the slide is filled up, insert a new slide and continue the process.
If you’re only taking questions, take a minute to enter the question. Then answer the question, but don’t enter the answer — it takes too long. Tell the audience that you’ll enter the answers on your own time afterwards.
Audiences love the idea that you’re recording their ideas in your PowerPoint presentation. They feel that they’re contributing to the presentation in a concrete way and know that you’re taking their ideas seriously.
The clincher: offer to e-mail participants the entire presentation, including their ideas. If you entered questions, insert the answers first.
If you want to collect e-mail addresses, this system provides a good incentive for audience members to give you their e-mail address. They know that they’ll get the expanded PowerPoint presentation in return.
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