Keeping a large group or audience engaged comes with the challenge of holding the crowd's interest. Use audience participation games to keep your presentation or event lively. Large-audience participation games may be used at presentations, in theater settings or any gathering with many participants.
Using presentation software and a projector, create games to invite audience participation. Divide the room in half, pitting the right half of the audience against the left half. Have a microphone set up on each side. The first person to answer correctly wins a point for her team. Game ideas include Name the Logo, where you project a logo and the audience has to identify the brand. Trivia games work well for this premise, and there are templates for common presentation software titles available online based on games including "Jeopardy!" and Trivial Pursuit. The Zoom-In game shows a slide of an extreme close-up on a common object and the audience has to guess what it might be. Be creative and cater the slides for each of these games to your event.
Sing-alongs and Ice Breakers
Section off your audience into three or four areas and ask each group to sing a song most people know, such as "Row, Row, Row Your Boat." Have each section start singing at different times to create a rounds effect. Change the lyrics to reflect your brand, event or guest of honor. A more competitive ice-breaker game using similar groupings is the "We Have the Best" game. Announce topics such as "the tallest" and invite each group to send its nominee to the stage. The team with the tallest candidate wins a point. As teams send their contestants down, have each person introduce himself to the audience. This type of game introduces the groups to each other and the contestants to the entire room.
If your audience or gathering is outdoors and you've space to do so, many traditional gym-class games work well for groups. Relay races and freeze tag all incorporate large groups. Break your audience into groups of 10 and form lines of five people each, facing the other five teammates from 10 feet apart. Have them toss marshmallows into the mouths of their teammates. When both corresponding team players have succeeded, they may leave the line and the next two competitors step up. The first team to successfully toss marshmallows into all 10 mouths wins.
Improvisational comedy groups use audience participation games to incorporate their audiences into the show. Many of these games can be adapted for any audience or group setting. For the improvisers, section the audience into teams and have each team send a volunteer to the stage to be a performer. To play a game of "Who's Line," have each audience member write down a line of dialogue and place each suggestion into a bucket. Gather contestants and have them each pull a line from the bucket that they have to use in a scene. Using an audience suggestion for a scenario, have the contestants pretend they are in that situation, having to use their lines in the scene. This game may be played over and over, with each team sending new contestants to the stage for each round. Choose winners by audience applause after each round if you want it to be more competitive.
M.J. Salamone is a newspaper journalist and editor with expertise writing about society and culture, media, politics, the arts and more. With 20 years of experience as a writer and journalist, Salamone enjoys digging into a multitude of topics.