7.11: Be Creative

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Aim: To learn techniques for engaging the audience, adding impact to your presentation and making it memorable.

Most professional presentations are one-way. This saves time, but loses the audience’s attention. Involving the audience intellectually, emotionally, imaginatively and physically can help keep them alert ant attentive – and make your presentation more memorable.

Research shows that audience retention of information after 3 months is:

  • 0-5% for a verbal only presentation
  • 20-40% for both a verbal and visual presentation
  • 40% + for a verbal and visual presentation where the audience is involved.


Here are some techniques that you could use:

Texture and Variety

  • Use visual aids: OHP, flip chart, samples
  • Use color and style
  • Change pacing and timing
  • Use body language and modulate the voice
  • Tell culturally appropriate anecdotes and jokes


  • A promise: ”by the end of my talk you will know the secret of success.”
  • Create a conspiratorial atmosphere: ”Not many people know this…”
  • Give the sense that this is a special occasion and you have a special message

Active participation

  • Use an exercise or activity which physically involves the audience
  • Walk into, around or through the audience
  • Do a quiz or test, set a problem solving activity
  • Ask open questions with the ”Wh” words
  • Ask rhetorical questions
  • Poll opinion with a show of hands
  • Use ”You” or the inclusive ”we” in a ration of 5:1 with ”I”
  • Use the EAT method: Experience, Analyze, Theorize


  • Use persuasive language
  • Create the ”aha” effect

If culturally appropriate:

  • Shock and excite with high impact headlines: ”Sex and Money”
  • Behave in an unexpected, unusual, or different way

Question: Can you think of any other creative ways of engaging the audience? Discuss and share them with your group.

Practice: Give a short presentation to the group on your favorite creative tools for engaging an audience.


< Back to 7.10
Use the right language
        Next to 7.12 >
Use rhetorical devices