Tell the people in the room what you expect from them.
There are at least 3 common reasons why you give a presentation:
1. To educate in order for people to make a decision
2. To prompt action or implementation
3. To educate for the sake of knowledge
You need to tell them at the beginning what you're doing and what they have to do. Without giving them a "mental assignment," people don't have a context in which to process the information. If they don't know what's expected of them, human nature leads the audience into a passive mode. The burden of the presentation is entirely on you.
1. "At the end of the meeting we'll decide on the best supply chain software for our organization. You'll be expected to offer your rationale for the risks and benefits of each. So I expect that we'll have a lot of questions and discussion during the next hour."
2. "I'm going to lay out the steps of the product launch. Each of you will play a role in its execution. At the end of the meeting I'll ask for a commitment to a timetable from each of the managers here. As I lay out the information, be sure to speak up and discuss the pros and cons from your perspective. The deadline for the launch is 60 days from now."
3. "We've discovered a possible new opportunity as a result of R&D. My purpose is to show you what led to this so that you can understand what is evolving with the technology."
Make your audience mentally active
- Tell them at the beginning what their role is and how to play it.
- They'll appreciate the direction.
- You'll get more participation.