How to Get a Standing Ovation

If you are looking for an icebreaker for your presentation, I have the perfect one for you to use. I learned this trick a little over a year ago and now use it every time I teach a class or present in front of a large audience. I also used this trick when I presented in front of 400 people. It works for groups of all types and sizes and is sure to draw a laugh from the audience.

Here is how you can trick your audience into giving you a standing ovation:

  1. Before the presentation decide on a category that will place everyone in the audience into two groups. For example, people with last names starting with A-L are group 1 and people with last names starting with M-Z are in group 2. It doesn’t have to be a perfect split just make sure people that are standing next to each other aren’t all in the same group.
  2. At the start of your presentation (before you introduce yourself) ask everyone to stand up. Have your phone with you. 74B89F51-0374-496C-A0D4-3F05E7A27D08
  3. Define the first group of people and instruct them to pose like you. Then pose with your hands together at your chest. Don’t describe what you are doing just act out the position and the first group will follow suit. 2018-08-11 07_23_39-Kiewit 2018 - Internet Explorer
  4. Then instruct the second group of people to pose a different way. This time pose like you are holding an invisible mini basketball. I actually talk thru this position referring to the mini basketball because it throws them off even more. B3273617-2B6A-4291-BFCB-8D44C880E800
  5. Then pick one or two people who are in the first or the second position and tell them to hold up their finger like they are saying number one. Then pick one or two more people and tell them to pose with two thumbs up. I like to pick people in the front and I especially like to pick executives if they are in attendance. 2018-08-11 07_27_17-Kiewit 2018 - Internet Explorer
  6. Then ask everyone to “smile!” and take a picture of the group. At this point everyone in the audience is beyond confused.65C2FC06-55BC-4630-9C96-A2447434B056
  7. Once you are done taking the picture say “Well even if I bomb this presentation I have a picture of you all giving me a standing ovation!” (then do the clapping motion to act out the first position and second position together and everyone will realize they’ve been tricked). It fools everyone and I always get a good laugh out of the group.
  8. Make sure you do all of these steps quickly, the whole thing usually takes less than a minute so they don’t have time to think about what you are asking them to do!

Here are a few other audiences I’ve tricked: 

And here are a few pictures my friends have taken when they’ve used my trick:

Have fun and send me a picture if you trick anyone!


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