Activities to Engage Your Audience
By Linda C. Smith
Are you looking for activities to engage your audience? One of the major transferable skills that works for teachers, trainers, and presenters is the ability to engage participants in activities that connect with their learning.
Drama teachers have used the techniques of learning by “doing” as they apply it to their subject of dramatic arts and their theatrical productions. So, it’s interesting to note that trainers now embrace this method as a strategy to boost their own presentations.
As a drama coach, teacher, and director I have always found that my participants at all ages and all academic levels have embraced drama activities to experience a deeper level of understanding about themselves and the relationships that surround them. These techniques are also appropriate at the business, post-secondary, and corporate level for adult learners during their training process.
Here are three drama activities that can appeal to your participants in their training experience so they discover the connection with your presentation.
Activity # 1: Kick-Starters to get-to-know one another and energize the group is a great way to start your interaction with a live group, or on an online Webinar. Have each participant introduce themselves to the person next to them and also tell them about their favourite food, or unusual habit (eg. I always do a run before breakfast, I hate elevators). Set a 30-second time limit so it gets everyone moving along.
For your online listeners, they can type in one line of text on your Webinar question page. Other openers might be my worst fears, best moments, my goals, a famous person I would love to meet, my most important take-away I want from this session, and so on.
Activity # 2: Groups of 3 or 4 people to engage in a problem or solution will get your participants thinking and talking to one another as they negotiate a key point. Give each group a different question on your topic to discuss. Set a time limit and have each group a spokesperson to present a summarized conclusion to the rest of the audience.
If you are stuck for questions always refer back to the standard: who, what, where, when, and how formats as it relates to your topic.
For online learners you can choose one question and have participants type in an answer; or do it in a survey format so participants choose from multiple choice of a series of 4-5 questions.
Activity # 3: Physical group activities to allow participants to move around and engage in an experience to connect to your key message.
For example, one improvisation that works well for groups to connect with team work is to have each participant move to a position that connects with another member by shape and movement as part of a working machine or assembly line, such as: a car, a washing machine, a pop-corn maker, a production line of machine parts and products moving along the line, and so forth.
You could also do this in pairs where each pair creates an object with their position and shape, such as, a dish, a chair, a telephone, a door, a clock, or other objects.
They will appreciate how each part is a needed connection to making the machine process work, similar to valuing all your team members for a project.
For the online experience have your participants experience an activity as they listen to your guidance: such as a vocal warm-up in which you give the steps that each person needs to do as you lead them through the process; or lead a relaxation exercise.
Remember your activities need a purpose and have to relate to your presentation; for, it cannot simply be busy activities. The members of your audience need to discover that key moment while you act as the facilitator.
You and your audience will benefit from using drama activities as strategies to allow participants to engage being a team player, a leader, or a creative problem solver and make the connection into their real world. Many more activities that include improvisation, role-playing, and games will help you create a dynamic and meaningful presentation for your participants.
Written by Brenda C. Smith
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