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  • Writer's pictureBarbara Mayfield, MS, RDN, LD, FAND

Let’s get engaged!

Updated: Dec 7, 2022

man on bended knee proposing to girlfriend in autumn woods

Getting engaged is exciting, it’s memorable, and it’s planned. Audience engagement in a presentation can also be exciting and memorable, and should be part of your communication planning. No ring required.

Engaging an audience improves attention, enhances learning, increases retention, and encourages behavior change. It is also more fun for both the presenter and the participants.

I have created a tip sheet with 5 tips for engaging your audience. Visit my resources page: for a free downloadable copy. When you plan a presentation, incorporate these proven methods to engage your audience:

  • Make your audience feel at home! When you create a comfortable, welcoming environment, your audience will feel safe to engage with you and others. Build trust by demonstrating empathy. Build rapport and common ground. Allow participation to be voluntary, easy, and convenient. Make engagement fun.

  • Be engaging! Convey a warm and welcoming demeanor from the moment your audience arrives. Smile and make genuine eye contact. Demonstrate enthusiasm for your audience and what you are communicating. Make them hungry to listen and participate in learning. Create a desire to engage with you – be magnetic!

  • Ask good questions! Questions can be used so many ways. A good opening question can connect the audience to the topic and provide you with immediate feedback. Polls and surveys can provide you with your audience’s opinions. Quizzes show you and your audience what they know (or don’t know) and can be a fun way to present information through the answers.

  • Pair up! Partner activities are a great way to engage the entire audience. Most people hesitate to speak up in front of a group, but are comfortable talking with the person sitting next to them. A classic activity is “Think-Pair-Share,” which asks participants to think about a topic, pair up to discuss, then invites volunteers to share. Pairing up engages everyone.

  • Engage everyone! Throughout a presentation, implement a variety of approaches that engage everyone. These can include everything from individual activities participants complete to apply the content, to large and small group activities that get people up and moving… interacting around tables… or playing a game to assess knowledge gains. Turn your audience into active, engaged participants.

To insure success, plan and practice engagement activities, provide clear directions, and demonstrate what you want participants to do. Encourage cooperation in group activities. When people volunteer, recognize and thank them for their participation.

“I hear and I forget. I see and I remember. I do and I understand.” Confucius

What are your favorite audience participation activities? Share in the comments.

For your free tip sheet, click here:

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