JUN 2012

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Home Planning Directory FEA TURE: ENGAGING PRESENT A TIONS 3 Incorporate VISUALS & SOUND 4 Break Up Presentations With ENERGIZING ACTIVITIES "Give regular breaks and have lively music playing as attendees enter the room and play during breaks," Kim Inman of the Columbia (S.C.) Conference Center added. Brandy Miley of One Century Place Conference Center in Nashville suggests organizing ac- tivities such as teambuilding exercises or "a rewarding afternoon break such as an ice cream sundae bar. Or, if the planner is impressing a new client, a more upscale afternoon break thatʼs entertaining and based on what the group is presenting." Planner Resources Meeting Site Showcase "It seems expen- sive at first," Joy Brown of the Morehead (Ky.) Conference Center said, "but investing in A/V and production equipment with sound, music and even a touch of specialty lighting will create an atmosphere that attendees will not forget." Energizing red lighting is used at the Cahaba Grand Conference Center in Birmingham, Ala., during a ban- quet presentation. "Add in questions in the middle of a presentation for fun crowd participations." 5 "Simply adding some odd sound ef- fects to a PowerPoint presentation can catch a group off guard and regain their attention," Miley said. Mix It Up & KEEP IT SHORT "Itʼs important to remember to switch up the presentation even if the topic remains the same," Miley said. "Or figure out a way to break it down into 10 to 15 minute seg- ments to seem as though you are transi- tioning or changing the subject. This helps with attendees short-term attention spans." 6 Get Physical, INTERACT Provide more opportunities for the atten- dees to physically participate during a presentation to "get the blood flowing," said Al Luciano of Texasʼ La Torretta Lake Resort and Spa. "Stop in the mid- dle of the presentation, change gears and get the group to stand up and do arm rotation exercises. Youʼll get some laughter and an invigorated group." "Add in a few questions in the mid- dle of a presentation for fun crowd par- ticipation," Miley said, adding that simple gestures like that keep atten- dees intrigued and focused. 7 Use Technology To DRIVE UP PARTICIPATION Don't ask them to put it away, but encourage attendees to use tablets or handhelds. Tablets are quickly emerging as the must have devices, not only for individuals, but as a key presentation tool. For a relatively small investment, an iPad comes equipped with numerous applications that help make meetings run smoother, said David Kerper of the Fredericksburg (Va.) Expo and Conference Center. "The presenter can be delivering his speech but at the same time it is being simulcast to an iPad where there are options to give additional information about that particular subject, whether for immediate viewing or marking it to look at later." Another way to increase audience participation, according to Brown, is by using audience response technology. "This software allows attendees to answer without fear of a wrong answer," Brown said. "Answers are silent and posted on the screen in a tally form." Live chats via instant messengers, social media posts or texts—which attendees can access on their handheld smart phones—seem to be a popular new trend, according to Miley. "The audience feels more comfortable commenting and asking questions, and the presenter can respond to answers at proper breaks in their presentation instead of having multiple interruptions." 14 ConventionSouth JUNE 2012 www.con v

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