Giving Engaging Presentations

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Do you dread sitting through another PowerPoint presentation?  Do you wish you had alternatives to giving another PowerPoint presentation to your audiences?  There are other options…

Some Facts about Adults as Learners

  • Adults learn best when they perceive the outcomes of the learning process as valuable–contributing to their own development, work success, etc.
  • Adults are more concerned about the immediate applicability of learning.
  • Adults are much more likely to reject or explain away new information that contradicts their beliefs.  So, if you are presenting controversial information, be prepared with good data to make your point.
  • Actively involving students in learning instead of simply lecturing to them leads to improved attendance, deeper questioning, higher retention and greater lasting interest in the subject.

Alternatives to Lectures

Small Work Groups that report out to whole group – Presenter gives a short presentation and then provides questions, issues, case studies to each group; groups processes then each group summaries their work and shares with whole room: provides an opportunity for involvement by all.


Whole Group Q&A – The presenter offers some facts then poses a question or makes a statement and facilitates the group answering or responding: provides multiple perspectives to the issue.


Game Show – The format is something like Jeopardy or Family Feud: requires a little more work up front, but really engages everyone.  If time permits, attendees can also create the questions.



  • As you are preparing your presentation, put yourself into the position of your audience. What do they want to learn?  What is vital information vs. too much detail?  Prepare crisp, succinct information for them.


  • When presenting, make eye contact and watch the body language of your audience. Are they understanding you?  Do they look confused, bored or engaged?  Be certain to talk WITH your audience, not AT your audience.


  • Consider the reason you are giving the presentation. Are you a Teacher (presenting new information) or a Performance Consultant (showing people how to change behavior)?  Know your purpose for presenting your material.