How do you get interaction with an audience of 350?

Lecturing and presenting skills

Questions relating to increasing interaction are top of the list for many lecturers. And it can be difficult with very large class sizes. One of the common mistakes is to simply ask “any questions” at the end of a topic, which rarely elicits a response. It is a closed question aimed at the whole class and typically fails, even though there will be questions on the audience minds’.
The quest for interaction is good, since when done well, it works rather like hitting the “refresh” button on a website. Rapport, engagement and understanding all benefit. So what other options are there? Here are just four suggestions;

1. Pairs – get people to work in two’s. Ask one to explain a concept to another and then swap or get them to discuss an answer to a general question.
2. Use voting software (e.g. Kahoot) and short quizzes to open up discussion and give students some direct involvement in the lecture.
3. Put a slide with a deliberate error and ask people to point it out.
4. Ask students to write down the question they most want answered about a topic, before collecting some examples.
Some lecturers feel they will lose control if they involve the class. But you can easily give clear time limits and guidelines for interactive activities. You should be more concerned about losing the class than losing control. In fact, if you speak for more than 15-20 minutes without adding in some interactive element, you will be losing your students, since that is the typical attention span for most audiences. For more tips on lecturing and presenting go to presentingchange.co.uk.