Why I hope they speak during your next presentation

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speakHave you ever had someone talk through a presentation you were giving, a class session you were conducting, or a meeting you were running?  You worked really hard to prepare the session, only to find a few people texting, whispering, or a speaking loudly to someone else during the talk.

It’s horrible isn’t it?

Yet, I’m hoping that you will consider strategically, mindfully, intentionally, and courageously providing the time for individuals to talk (with a partner) during your next presentation.  By providing time for people to talk, you are helping to unleash learning for everyone (yes everyone!).


Because to unleash learning, your students, participants, audience, or staff need time to life the weights.  And speaking on the topics, ideas, frameworks, or main message of your presentation, is a great way to ensure that they lift the weights on the important concepts and ideas of your presentation.

Here’s how it works:

1.  Set up for success

Have everyone sit next to a person they can speak with.  This means there should be no empty seats between the audience members. Set up before you begin your presentation, or invite people to sit in certain locations prior to the start of your talk.

2.  Find a partner

Before you begin, have everyone find a partner to work with.  This should be the person that is seated next to him or her.  Ensure no one is excluded!

3.  Make introductions

Invite everyone to quickly shake hands and introduce himself or herself to the person they will be working with.

4.  Provide time for partners to talk

During your presentation, strategically build in spots for partners to speak to each other.  Have a few questions built into  your PowerPoints slides, and ask partners to discuss the questions.  These questions should relate to the main ideas of your presentation.

5.  Invite them to stand

If it’s a very large group, ask everyone to stand.  Then show them your questions.  Ask them to sit down when they are done talking with each other.  This is a great way to monitor the discussion, and to know when everyone has finished.

Talking through your presentation, mindfully done, can help create engagement, break up a presentation into meaningful sections, and most importantly, can help unleash learning for all!

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A question for you...

What strategies do you use to get people to talk during your presentation?  Click the comments below to share your strategies.

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