One of the easiest ways to get an audience engaged and energized at the beginning of a presentation is to conduct a symphony. Simply put, you use the separate sections of the audience saying different syllables that, when combined, sound out the title of your presentation.
Here’s what you do:
Step 1: Tell the Audience What’s Up
Let the audience know the importance of staying engaged and getting involved. Tell them you will be helping to warm them up by making them part of the presentation.
Step 2: Break Up Your Topic Into Syllables
Take your macro level topic (or the title of your presentation if it’s short), and divide it into it’s syllables. For example, if you were training on an Adobe project, you would have the syllables “Ah”, “doh”, and “be”.
Step 3: Split the Audience in Syllables
Take the number of syllables you have, and divide your audience by that many–in our example, we would divide the audience into three sections. You don’t have to move people, just do it in natural groupings based on where they are sitting.
Step 4: Assign the Syllables
Assign each of the divided sections a different syllable. To not completely reveal what you are doing, try assigning the syllables in a different order than they are pronounced. So you might say, “Group 1, when I point to you, you say ‘Be’. Group 2, you say ‘Doh’. Group 3, you say ‘Ah’.”
Step 5: Conduct the Audience
Now start conducting the audience by pointing to each of the different sections. Start out by picking random orders of the syllables–“Ah” “Be” “Doh”, “Be” “Doh” “Ah”, “Doh” “Ah” “Be”. And then as you are ready to wrap up the warm up, have them correctly shout out the topic name in the correct order a couple of times–“Ah Doh Be”, “Ah Doh Be”.
Sure this warm-up may be a little cheesy, but it gets the entire audience engaged in what you are doing and they are now behaving like one cohesive unit. For some extra fun, you can always end your presentation coming back to this exercise.