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5 interactive presentation ideas that leave a lasting impression

“Attention is definitely mandatory to people remembering the right things, and not just random things.” – Carmen Simon, cofounder of Rexi Media

Attention is the gatekeeper of our memories. If you can’t get your audience to sit up and take notice, your presentation will soon be forgotten.

In her webinar, Using neuroscience to create presentations with lasting impact, Dr. Carmen Simon, cognitive scientist and cofounder of Rexi Media, emphasized the importance of attention when forming new memories.

According to Simon, one of the best ways to win attention is to insert a “cut” every three minutes.

Cuts are simply a break from your normal presenting style, such as switching from a lecture to a Q&A or trivia question. Poll Everywhere gives you the right tools for both activities. Here are five ideas on how you can use live audience polling to create an interactive presentation your audience won’t soon forget.

5 presentation ideas using live audience interaction


5. Warm up your audience with an easy icebreaker

google word cloud food

Even the best interactive presentation ideas will fall flat if nobody responds.

Introduce your audience to live polling with an easy icebreaker. Present one before your presentation starts to get everyone familiar with the ins and outs of Poll Everywhere.

This will speed up the time it takes to complete subsequent polls because your audience will already know how to respond. They’re also more likely to engage if they’re already comfortable with the polling process.

Icebreakers come in many styles – but one of the most popular among Poll Everywhere users is the word cloud. Choose a question that calls for a personal response – What’s your favorite food? – that everyone can answer.


4. Use interactive questions to reinforce key topics

If you want to know if your audience really understands what you’re presenting, just ask.

Christopher Robertson, who teaches at University of Arizona’s James. E. Rogers College of Law, uses multiple-choice polling to identify and quickly resolve any misunderstanding his students have about the complexities of law.

“Law students can easily go an entire semester passively attending class and both the professor and student discover on the final exam that they have not grasped the concepts covered in class,” said Robertson.

“I find polling in class encourages active student participation and uncovers misunderstanding of how to apply the law that warrant a second look.”

Collecting feedback this way gives your audience a chance to reflect on what you’ve told them and apply that knowledge on the spot. This improves the chances they’ll remember the information after your presentation ends.


3. Enable anonymity to encourage candid feedback

Dr. Mark, physician and author of The Productive Physician, uses anonymous polling in his medical classes.

He cites how this extra layer of security helps put students’ minds at ease and lets them focus on the lesson instead of worrying about scrutiny from their peers.

“Poll Everywhere allows both anonymous and signed-in polling,” explained Dr. Mark, “but I prefer to use the anonymous mode as I feel it increases learner psychological safety: my students might be more inclined to test their knowledge without the fear of being seen to be wrong in front of their peers.”

You can enable anonymity for all Poll Everywhere poll types. The audience responds from the privacy of their phones – not in front of their peers – giving everyone an equal opportunity to make their voice heard.


2. Let your audience decide what’s next

Presentations don’t always need to flow in a straight line. With an interactive poll, you can empower your audience and let them dictate the flow of your presentation.

Katie from Poll Everywhere gave a webinar on this very topic. In it, she explained how corporate trainers use polling to create choose-your-own-adventure style presentations.

Present your audience with a multiple-choice question and let their votes determine which topic you tackle next. In Katie’s example, a corporate trainer is asking about how best to respond to a customer complaint.

Three options are available, and the audience votes on which one they think is most appropriate. Once the results are in, the presenter navigates to the slide associated with that option and discusses the results.

Tip: Build anticipation by hiding the results of a poll until all votes have been collected. This also prevents audience members from being influenced by the votes of their peers.


1. Use surveys to extend interaction after your presentation ends

Audience interaction doesn’t have to end with the presentation.

Jez Wiles, lecturer at the London College of Music, continues the conversation with his students both before and after his lectures with online questionnaires.

“Getting [students] to use a survey as a post-class reflective tool, or pre-lecture poll to find out what they know about something…this has all extended the use of [Poll Everywhere] for me, and boosted engagement,” said Wiles.

“As a ‘temperature tester’ I think it’s useful. And I like the sense of fun this tool naturally brings; I always find engagement goes up when I use it.”

Surveys can include any type of poll – from multiple-choice to open-ended – and can be completed asynchronously at the audience’s own pace. This is a great way to help reinforce the topics of your presentation, or to collect audience feedback on the presentation itself.


These are just some of the ways the Poll Everywhere community uses live polling to drive interactive presentations. Each of these ideas is a type of cut you can use to keep your audience alert and engaged with what you’re saying. For more great suggestions on ways you can use Poll Everywhere to enhance your next class or meeting, check out the links below.

You may also be interested in:

25 icebreaker questions for live audience polling

12 unusual ways to spur creativity during meetings

10 all-hands meeting ideas that engage large audiences

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