Sheila B Robinson

Reflections of an everyday educator/program evaluator/professional developer…LEARNER

Seven Simple Strategies to Engage Any Audience


I love PowerPoint! I especially love well-designed slides, and I have fun putting into practice what I’ve learned about slide design.

Once you have visually appealing slides that encourage your audience to focus attention on you and support your content…AND you have appropriate  content that is important, interesting, or imperative to your audience, how will you deliver it in an engaging way? 

Last summer, I had this article published on Presentation Magazine’s site. Now, I’ve turned the key points into a slide deck posted on SlideShare.



Author: Sheila B Robinson, Ed. D

Voracious learner, career educator... Evaluation, Professional Development, Special Education.

6 thoughts on “Seven Simple Strategies to Engage Any Audience

  1. Not sure whether you’ll see it, but I commented on your Pres Mag article with a few more tips on engagement:

    Any comments on that post are most welcome.

    I do disagree with one of your points though, in that you say (on slide 26) to admit any mistakes you make. Mostly, people wouldn’t even realise you’ve made a mistake, so unless their attention was already drawn to it (e.g. if you knocked over the lectern!) it’s better not to mention if they don’t.

    • Thanks for your comment Craig, and the link to your blog. I enjoyed reading some of your posts and am now a subscriber (I love your blog title, too!)! I can’t find the comment and tips you refer to on my Presentation Magazine article, and I’d really like to read them. Are they on your site, or on I wasn’t able to find them. I appreciate your comment on SLide 26 about admitting mistakes, and wish I had been clearer in my message. I wasn’t thinking of the presenter who missed or misread a line type of mistake (something the audience wouldn’t otherwise notice), but rather, the one a presenter might make with information (content). I was thinking about a situation in which you misquote someone, or have incorrect information, or the wrong statistic, and someone in the audience calls your attention to it. “Better to humbly admit than to (think of a word that rhymes here!).” In other (more polite) words, better to be honest and forthcoming, than to try to cover it up. That’s my point, and I’m certain there are some who would still disagree. 🙂

      • The comment I mentioned is showing for me as the 2nd on your article on the Pres Mag site:

        Maybe it’s awaiting moderation and so isn’t yet publicly visible. (It doesn’t say that, but it might well be the case anyway.) If it doesn’t show up within a few days, let me know and I’m happy to repost it on your blog.

        Ah, I see what you mean about mistakes. Yes, absolutely right that if you try to defend an error when someone points one out, your credibility would take a nosedive. (Audiences really don’t take defensiveness well!)

      • Funny, I only see one comment on that article and it is this: “Thank you very much for sharing! This will be very helpful for our team meeting.” So perhaps you are right about it awaiting moderation. In any case, I’d like to read your comments and additional tips wherever they may appear! 🙂

  2. Hi Sheila. I just noticed that my comment on the Pres Mag site has been deleted – I assume that’s because they don’t like people posting URLs!

    Anyway, this is what it said:
    >I really like how interactive these ideas are.
    >Re the idea of challenging people, Carl Kwan suggested the great tactic of
    >starting by saying something like “I bet you think [xyz] about [the topic],
    >don’t you? Well you’re wrong!” That certainly gets people’s attention!
    >For 4 more examples of how to engage people, also check out this post:
    >(URL of the post I linked to above)
    >(Comment ends)

    I also like your idea of asking questions before the event (slide 13). I think that’s especially useful if you’re giving a webinar, as I wrote about near the end of this post:

    BTW, if you ever need to, you can give people a direct link to any specific slide in your Slideshare deck. Just search my blog for “Slideshare”.

    Thanks for posting, and for being open to conversation on this. By all means, leave a link on my blog to your own posts.

    • Thanks Craig! Carl Kwan’s tip can work, I think, if you use humor and have good rapport with your audience. I enjoyed reading your posts on asking questions before an event, and I love the tip on linking to particular SlideShare slides!

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