Are your presentations interactive enough?


Buddhists perceive life, death and rebirth as a continuous cycle.  Communication seems to follow  similar pattern. Once was a time when all communication was interactive. People sat around camp-fires and took time to share and swop stories.  As an engaging form of communication, we haven’t surpassed this art form yet (until virtual reality gets bit better!).

As the world progressed, communication methods started getting more efficient. Town Criers went from town to town delivering the latest news and gossip. This started the trend towards mass communications which took off as technology did. Mass publishing of newspapers, radio and then television put more and more emphasis on one message for all. Even today mass communications is (probably on balance) the most effective delivery method. Especially when in China you have the national broadcaster CCTV (got to love the honesty in the name!) beaming out to more than a billion people…guaranteed. Potent stuff.

But interactive communication never went away, we still love stories after all. In the 1970s the CB Radios were the precursor to internet chat rooms.

Pagers, mobile phones, inter-web, chat rooms, instant chat,  tweets, have all revitalised the more intimate forms of communication albeit with the ability to leverage it to many people.   Today, people need interactivity more than ever.  When you post on your Facebook page that you had a fight with your boyfriend, you are extending your emotional space out towards your friends and when they reply with comfort (your female friends) and advice (your male friends), this cycle of interactivity is complete. On a much more powerful, personal and deeper level than any type of one-way, mass market communication. Pop Idol is so popular, I think, because the general public voting has a chance to engage and pull everyone into the show. Now you have a vested interest because you voted, joined a fan page of your favourite singer and talked about it with your friends at work.

Against this backdrop, what are you doing to increase the interactivity of your presentations? Are you still wondering why your audience looks bored? Why no one can remember your last presentation.  Kick your one-way delivery out the window.  Learn from Pop Idol and put feedback panels into your presentations, allow voting, request devil advocate opinions, ask for buy-in from your audience. Take your presentation into the realm of  interactions, personalisation and emotions.

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