Using Word Clouds To Help Calm Nerves And Keep Your Audiences’ Attention

Are you running a presentation or classroom session where your audience will be participating in an imminent follow-up examination or assessment?

Do you want to know how your audience is feeling and be able to put them at ease whilst keeping them attentive?

Word Clouds can be a useful tool to help you achieve this.

We have all faced exam or assessment anxiety. It is challenging to keep engaged during a session when you know of an impending assessment. Worse still, if the presenter/workshop leader lacks empathy and does not acknowledge your nerves.

Research shows that anxiety may impair concentration, memory, decrease attention span, and lead to loss of confidence. Using a simple Word Cloud at the start of your presentation can help settle nerves and ensure your audience is calm and attentive from the word go.

At the start of your session ask your audience to answer the following question “How are you feeling this morning?”

It is likely if the crowd in front of you are unfamiliar with each other and already nervous – they will not be in a hurry to share their innermost feelings using a conventional discussion. Using a word cloud where your audience can anonymously share their feelings can help break down these barriers.

Use prompts “I am genuinely interested in knowing how you are feeling, are you happy, excited, nervous, anxious, or even…hungry?” “Is anyone anxious about the assessment?”


An example Word Cloud with responses.


If it’s evident from the Word Cloud responses that some members of the audience are anxious and nervous, you have an opportunity to address this. Acknowledge the positive, “Good to see many of you energised and excited to be here.” Build empathy, by acknowledging that assessments can cause anyone to be nervous. 

Putting your audience at ease so they are comfortable and focused before you transition into the workshop or presentation helps drive better engagement.

You can also signpost early on while using ParticiPoll, at any time during the session, audience members can also submit questions by typing into their personal device (below).

At the end of your presentation you now have the opportunity to revisit your original Word Cloud or ask your audience a new question “How are you feeling now, after the presentation?” 

Use this time to review and moderate any unanswered questions that may have been submitted by the audience. Gauge the audience’s readiness for their assessment. 


Wish them luck!