Feb 26, 2009

Giving Audience the Remote of Your Presentation - Part I

How about putting the audience in the driver's seat? Hand them the remote and let them choose the flow and content of your presentation. It would be the pinnacle of audience engagement, the epitome of customization. What I call "User-Controlled Presentations." A democratic presentation which is of the audience, for the audience & now by the audience.

A User-Controlled Presentation (UCP) is where every step is decided by the audience. From what they want to know to the order in which they want to know it.

You can use this style in any presentation you make. Some of the cases when I recommend this are:

- the topics are so many that you don't know what to keep and what to remove (so you come with everything and let the audience decide),

- you want to take the audience by surprise, or

- you want to generate interest in a boring presentation

How does it work?
Let's take an example. A review presentation in office to showcase what you have done in the last month. You start with briefing the superior and then you put up this slide:

No this is not just an agenda slide. This is the dashboard of the UCP (User-Controlled Presentation).
Each square corresponds to a topic. You start by asking the superior what he would like to discuss first. He chooses 'Problems'. Using hyperlink you go to the slides under Problems and then come back to the dashboard. He then choses 'Tasks Done'. You click on the box, present the content and come back to the dashboard and ask your superior again. Simple isn't it.

In a UCP, the audience decides the order of the presentation. In case of paucity of time, this method allows the presenter to present what the audience feels as priority. Makes a lot of sense. You can always at the end give away handouts which summarizes everything that you had on the slides. This method lets you discover what's priority for the audience.

In my next post on Feb 28, we shall discuss ways of making such a presentation. In the meantime, what are the questions that are coming to your mind? Where can you possibly use this style of presenting? What are the problems you foresee. L
eave a comment.


  1. Vivek, I had the great pleasure of attending your presentation on 14th Nov, Hyd Startup. since then i have been with your site. it is wonderful.

    I find the UCP format very innovative and personally for me, very exciting. I give lot of presentations on health, disease management, diet and stress etc. i would like to use it in my next ppt and would let you know the response.

    keep up the good work

  2. Hi Suresh

    I am happy that you liked yesterday's presentation and I am excited to see you use the UCP method. Use it and let me know ow it went.

    You can also use UCP method when you do not know what's priority for your audience or you are running out of time.

    I will look forward to your email.