Want to spice up your presentation? How about an interactive moment with your audience? I recently gave a 30 minute case study presentation on a patient with Celiac Disease. Because of the popularity of the gluten free diet, even within the non Celiac Disease population, much of the public is aware of this allergy to gluten. So given the fact that you have 30 minutes, how are you going to keep the audience interested in a well known disease ? What else can they take away from the presentation?

Here's the activity I created to demonstrate the disease process and nutrition implications in a patient with Celiac disease.

You'll need:

  • Rubber balls/tennis balls
  • A story
  • List of sources of gluten

How it works:

Have your audience pair up and stand across from eachother. Give each partner set one ball and have them begin to gently toss the ball back and forth. Each person represents an intestinal villi, and the balls represent the nutrients in your intestines. Each time the ball is caught, the nutrient is absorbed.

Now begin your story. Each time you mention a source of gluten, your villi (people) will begin to decrease their range of motion,shrinking at the knees and pulling their arms in. Their ability to catch the nutrients is getting worse by the minute. In a person with Celiac disease, gluten will flatten the villi when consumed and cause malabsorption of cricial nutrients. Make sure you throw in sneaky sources of gluten for your audience to catch!

Example (Orange indicates a source of gluten)

"Fabio woke up this morning and grabbed a doughnut. He brushed his teeth and ran outside, late for work. On his way there, he popped his multivitamin which contained a starch filler.  Fabio had never been one to eat a balanced diet with real food. In fact, the most balanced thing he had eaten this week was a nacho plate with green onions and salsa after his beer binge the night before. "

Getting your audience involved, even if it's a topic they already have some background in, will help them stay awake and make a great visual for their brain.  What are your presentation tricks?