Public Speaking and Presentations: Using an Audience Response System

The very best public speakers are able to glean a lot of valuable information from an audience during a speech, lecture, or presentation. Of course, there are some obvious visual and verbal cues to look out for, such as loud booing or prying queries, but there are also the more inconspicuous nonverbal cues as well, such as raised eyebrows, head nodding, or restless seat shifting. Proficient speakers have an uncanny ability to internalise even the subtlest of reactions from audiences, which allows them to adapt the presentation to fit the mood and aura of the crowd.

However, many people struggle with this type of second-nature analysis, especially when they’re presenting a topic or lecture to a large congregation of prying eyes. After all, preparing for a public speech comes with its own set of headaches and nuisances, many of which tend to exacerbate stress levels once the bright lights come on. Thus, if you don’t have the natural ability to internalise real-time reactionary impressions or if you simply want to give better presentations, it’s time to consider using an audience response system (ARS) to enhance your public speaking proficiency.

What Is an Audience Response System?

Audience response systems have a seemingly infinite number of uses but their core purpose is to allow large groups of people to provide feedback during a demonstration, PowerPoint presentation, or speech. Each member of the audience has a handheld device with which he or she can answer a question, vote on a topic, or provide a numerical rating on the presenter’s subject matter. This type of implementation provides greater interactivity within any kind of public performance because the audience members are provided with an unobtrusive way to voice their opinions and thoughts in real time.

Hardware-Based ARS: The Antiquated Method

In the modern age of smartphones and tablets, you might be asking yourself “are hardware-based audience response systems still a thing?” Well, they do still exist but these clunky and archaic systems are quickly becoming obsolete as presenters shift towards a more streamlined method of information dissemination. However, since the early 80s, presenters have been using plastic keypad devices, which are usually connected to the seats in a particular venue, to elicit responses from audiences during public speaking sessions. Before the modernised cloud system came to be, the process involved sending each audience response to an ARS receiver and then transmitting the information to the presenter’s screen by way of a central computer. This outdated method featured very little customisability and a rudimentary final display, which didn’t quite enhance presentations so much as it slowed them down. To boot, presenters had to purchase an expensive receiver, multiple keypads, and host of other implements to allow the hardware to function properly.

ARS in the Cloud

The modern cloud-based system, on the other hand, features no hardware and allows the audience to log onto the presentation platform with their own smart devices. Provided that smartphones and tablets are commonplace nowadays, it’s easy to see that a cloud-based ARS not only saves presenters a ton of money on hardware expenses and technician fees but it also increases accessibility and convenience for the audience as well.

Instead of establishing an in-house network of keypad devices and receivers, presenters now have the ability to interact with audiences by way of an app and a Wi-Fi connection, which streamlines the entire process and takes full advantage of high-speed data sharing. Cloud-based systems have also been proven to increase attentiveness and knowledge retention and they tend to elicit more honest responses from the audience due to the anonymous nature of the polling process.

Thus, if you’d like to enhance your presentation skills in a cost-effective manner, you should try a modern ARS tool such as Glisser. This simple yet effective software solution will help bring your speaking sessions to life, not to mention the fact that it will gather valuable data along the way.

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