“Not a presentation, a participation,” says Scott Gould.
The Typical Presentation
He was talking to his compadre Robin Dickinson about an upcoming presentation he was delivering. The presentation was on participation. Robin challenged Scott to move from presenting information about participation to involving the audience.
That’s where Scott’s idea light bulb turned on.
He was going to talk about four lessons he learned. (Great, three to five points, not an information dump.) He was going to share slides. (Great, add some provocative visuals to hook learning and the brain.) He was going to be humorous and outrageous. (More greatness, add some emotional connections and tell stories.)
The Final Ingredient That Turned A Presentation Into A Participation
Then Robin landed the AHA statement. “If you are talking about participation, why not let the audience participate?”
BINGO! There’s the final ingredient to create a winning presentation. Participation!
Today’s participatory culture wants to participate. They want to be involved. They want to talk to each about your content. They will flock around the content and discuss it, if you allow them.
So why not build time for you audience to become participants in your conference education and presentations?
Scott closed his post by asking a very provocative question.
“What is the benefit of shifting from one mindset to the other?”
Here’s my response to Scott.
The Benefit Of Shifting From Lecture To Participation
What is the benefit from shifting from one mindset to the other?
It benefits the participants’ learning. That’s our goal, isn’t it? To help the learner.
Learning is fundamentally social. True learning is an act of participation. The depth of our learning depends on the depth of our participation.
Who learns the most from presenting? Typically the presenter, not the audience. Thus the depth of our learning depends on the depth of our participation.
Engagement is joined at the hip with empowerment. If you want someone to feel empowered during your presentation, craft the presentation so that there is time for them to engage with each other as they engage with your content. Chunk your content into 10-min segments and then let the participants digest that content together through conversations and discussions for 10-20 minutes. Then repeat, wash and rinse.
Exclusion from active participation equals failure to learn.
It’s about shifting from the being speaker-centric to the audience-centric. From a focus on sharing information to active learning and participation. From the sage on the stage to the guide on the side. From presenting to facilitating learning. From passive audiences to active participants.
BTW, everything I wrote above is founded in andragogy, the science of how adults learn.
Keep pushing those boundaries and focusing on what’s best for you audiences, the participants, the learners. That’s where you’ll find true success.
What keeps conference organizers from securing presenters that treat their audiences as participants? Why do some feel that participation means a decrease in learning and ROI?