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event presentations, Dan Yaman, professional development blogBy Dan Yaman, CEO of Live Spark

We’ve noticed a trend with our clients. They call us in a slightly panicked voice: “We’ve got to change our event strategy. We’ve got Millennials now, and we can’t just present as usual. We have to ENGAGE them! They demand interaction!”

While we’re glad that Millennials have inspired companies to rethink their presentations and to focus on engaging their audiences in brain-friendly, interactive ways—we can’t help but lament the fate of the poor, disengaged Gen Xers and Boomers who came before them.

Because, you see, there are some things that are unique about Millennials, but the need to be engaged is not one of them. They don’t have more need to be engaged. They’re just not quiet about their dissatisfaction.

All those Boomers enduring PowerPoint slide after mind-numbing PowerPoint slide, weren’t paying more attention than the fidgety, distracted Millennials. They were just better at hiding their dissatisfaction. Millennials, on the other hand, have been raised to believe that they are a force of change, that they deserve to be engaged and that their opinion matters. If they’re unsatisfied, then you’re going to hear about it for better or worse.

So by all means, revamp your presentations. Make them brain-friendly, engaging and effective. But where do you start? Here are some “M” strategies for your next event presentation that will engage any generation:

  • Solicit audience feedback before, during and after a presentation. Adjust accordingly.
  • Engage emotions using stories, examples, metaphors, graphics/media, humor and demonstrations. The biggest factor in whether a piece of information is remembered is the emotional state of the audience.
  • Incorporate audience interaction and make a presentation a (controlled) two-way dialog, not a monolog.
  • Utilize competition, team work and peer interaction that goes above and beyond standard “networking” or team-building activities.

Just remember, the Millennials may have demanded the change, but your Gen X and Boomer attendees will thank you for the increased engagement as well.

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