One of the challenges that a seminar facilitator is faced with is in keeping the audience interested. It can be a nightmare to present in front of dozens of people, only to realize that someone is snoring in the group. How can you keep the audience from getting bored? What techniques can be utilized in order to ensure that they keep their eyes and ears glued to you? These questions will be answered in this article.
Reasons Why the Audience Becomes Bored
Before you learn the various ways to keep the audience interested, you must first know what causes them to get bored in the first place. Prevention is better than cure, and by avoiding these factors, you could keep your seminar alive and appealing.
- The seminar facilitator is stiff, monotonous, and does not make eye contact with the audience.
- The presentation is too long, with no activities in between.
- The audience is not given the chance to ask questions.
- The facilitator talks only about himself or herself, to the point of being obnoxious and irritating.
- The facilitator’s voice is too soft or is barely audible.
- The room temperature is too cold.
- The schedule of the seminar is too early or too late than what the audience is accustomed to.
What You Can Do to Keep the Audience Interested
Seasoned seminar facilitators know a handful of techniques in order to prevent a sleepy crowd although interestingly enough, there are still some ineffective presenters who do not bother employing any of these. If you want to become good at conducting seminars, you can very well benefit from the knowledge of certain techniques to keep the audience on their feet even with a full-day seminar.
- Get them involved. It can be really difficult to keep anyone awake if this person has to sit in the room for several hours at a time. If the audience has nothing to do except to sit with everybody and keep their mouth shut, then you cannot really expect them to be able to focus in your seminar. This is why getting the audience involved is helpful, if not necessary, to keep them interested. Ask them questions and get them moving. Provide icebreakers and activities that would let them think, interact, and move about so they will stay alert and awake.
- Tell great stories. Listening to someone tell a good story or a funny joke is so much more interesting than listening to someone talk about boring facts and information. Stories can help break the ice when you make use of humor, and at the same time, it can also be used to illustrate a point during your oral presentation.
- Be animated. When a presenter speaks in a monotonous voice all throughout, it is very likely that many people in the audience would already feel bored and sleepy. The same is true if the speaker remains rigid or stiff and does not make use of body language and facial expression. If you want to keep the audience interested, try to be somewhat animated and vary your tone and movement. Just make sure not to overdo it or else the audience would not take you seriously.
- Customize your presentation to fit them. What this means is that when you provide examples and stories, you should ensure that these are something they can easily relate to. Use terms that they understand and use, in their line of work. Make analogies that are tailored to them. It can get very confusing and even boring for the audience if you tell them stories or give them information they are not familiar with or cannot relate to.
Put simply, an icebreaker breaks the ice. It breaks down the stiffness or the tenseness in the atmosphere. It gives people the chance to talk, laugh, and get to know each other. It also allows everyone (including you) to stretch and exercise, which is helpful for proper blood circulation after hours of just sitting in the room. However, apart from this, icebreakers are also used to make learning more fun and interesting. Many seminar facilitators use icebreaker sessions to introduce a topic or to drive home a point. When conducting seminars, you should prepare several icebreakers but you must also ensure that they are appropriate to the agenda and to the audience.