In my workshop on Public Speaking/Presenting for Introverts, I pass around a hat or small bucket containing laminated cards. Each card has a question or comment on it relating to public speaking. Some are straightforward, others a little quirky.

The cards are selected at random by attendees who read out the question or comment on the card as the starting point for a discussion. I find this keeps the workshop a little more spontaneous, or at least unpredictable, than it might otherwise be. It also engages the attendees in a non-threatening way. Feedback on the format has always been positive.

The question on the final card is ‘What is the ultimate secret of public speaking?’ which usually generates plenty of discussion.

Mindful of the advice of John Medina (author of Brain Rules) that you must re-engage audience members emotionally every 10 minutes or you will lose them, I am always on the lookout for new ways of stimulating audience participation.

Usually, this workshop is conducted for 12-20 people, which helps to keep it conversational. Next month, I’ll be presenting it around Australia for larger groups, up to 100. So I am particularly keen to hear any ideas for encouraging audience participation in a non-threatening way.

I would love to hear your suggestions. Please post in the comments section, contact me at or call me in Australia on 0421 612 756.