In a previous life, I had the pleasure of working for an Australian corporate giant whose fervour for employee training  was matched only by an astonishing lack of imagination when it came to the content and delivery.

The momentary thrill that accompanied the promise of a day spent in casual attire was quickly replaced by dread as the realisation of what lay ahead hit home.

Without fail I would be stuck in a room with a monotonous moderator, only slightly less bored than his audience, whose strongest suit seemed to be an impressive ability to drain the audience’s lifeforce. With most attendees sleeping through 42.3% (approximately) of the training, a case could be made that the training was a complete and utter waste of time.Fortunately it is now all too easy to transform a tired Powerpoint presentation into an engaging and interactive experience for both the trainer and the audience. The answer lies with the smart phones and social media with which your audience will entertain themselves if you fail to engage them effectively.

With the knowledge base of trainees changing from session to session, inserting a poll into a presentation can provide an accurate snap shot of a room, allowing the trainer to tailor the session to the audience. The responses can be submitted by the audience via their smart phones and displayed instantly within the presentation, mercifully negating the need for a show of hands followed by an awkward question and answer session.

Instead of treating Twitter as an enemy vying for the attention of the audience, trainers are increasingly embracing this technology. Presenting the audience with a dedicated hashtag for the session and displaying the live feed on a screen during the presentation, allows trainers to engage with the audience on a more personal level by addressing questions and monitoring trending comments.

No audience enjoys feeling as though they are being spoken at. Engaging audiences and making them an interactive part of a session will go a long way to maintaining attention levels and more effectively delivering the desired message.

With minimal effort and a little bit of imagination training can become a much more rewarding experience for both the trainer and the audience, resulting in a lot more knowledge retention and far less sleep.

image credit : Circuito Fora do Eixo