Chris Croft
Tips of the Month Archive

Time management Tip 3


Overcoming nerves

Microsleeps and what you can do about them

Making your presentation interactive

Adjusting your timing

Powerpoint pros and cons

Making your talk interactive

Powerpoint what could go wrong?

Powerpoint advanced tips


Your opening minute

How to remember your talk

Make your talk interactive.

Think of the worst talk you ever went to. What was wrong with it? I expect it was boring, probably because it was at the wrong level, either too hard or too easy. Or maybe the person droned on while nobody listened.

All of these could have been avoided if the speaker had been interactive!

What I mean by interactive is asking the audience a question occasionally. Maybe the question is just to ask if it makes sense so far, maybe to ask if anyone has experienced the thing you're talking about, or maybe it's to ask for an example from someone. Or maybe it's even to give the audience a choice about what you talk about, e.g. "Would you like me to go into more detail on this or would you prefer me to move on to the next bit?"

Advantages of being interactive:

1. Keeps them awake
2. Reassures you that they are with you
3. Makes you feel less nervous
4. Allows you to adjust to their needs
5. Gives you time to think.6. More fun.


1. Makes planning the timing more difficult
2. You don't know what they'll say!

I think you'll agree that the disadvantages can be overcome by things like having a bit you can miss out or put in if necessary, and admitting you don't know all the answers, and that the advantages are worth it.

So: when you plan your talk, plan in some interactive questions. Try to put in at least one question per overhead slide, or per flip chart page or powerpoint slide.

You'll be surprised how well it will work.

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