February 14, 2018
Lots of people speak publicly, but many could be doing it better. Audiences have shorter and shorter attention spans. Keeping a large group of people interested in your presentation is more and more challenging. These four tips will help you keep your large audience engaged in your subject matter.
Plan for audience interaction
Presentation gurus will tell you that you should try to engage your audience by having them participate in your talk. The thing about a live audience is that they may not respond to you the way you hoped or even at all. It’s important that you think about the possible responses to the questions you ask your audience and what to do if your questions receive unexpected answers.
If you were to give a presentation about email marketing and ask your audience a question like, who here uses email marketing, you better be darn sure that the majority of the group uses email marketing. Otherwise starting with a question like that lets you and your audience know that no one here is interested in what you have to say. If you don’t already know the answer to the question you’re going to ask, lower the stakes of the question. Try saying, Who here has read a marketing email?
Present with confidence
We’ve all seen a nervous speaker stutter and speed through his presentation. Public speaking has a nasty reputation. If you have agreed to give a presentation, preparation is the best thing you can do to gain confidence before you give your talk.
Know what you’re going to say and practice it. You should practice until you practically don’t need cue cards. In fact, it’s better if you don’t use cue cards. Your audience will listen to you when you project confidence in your subject matter and you’re speaking skills.
Tell an engaging story
So often presentations list facts to build an argument. That’s an important part of the presentation, but it can also be a little dull. Add a colorful anecdote that is either a short segment of your presentation or that weaves a relatable example throughout the presentation to help the audience connect to the subject matter and stay engaged throughout your talk.
Show them who you are
Your audience wants to feel that you are connected to your subject matter and that you aren’t just there reading off a list of information that you think they should learn. Tell your audience a story about where you started with the information and where you ended up. When they feel that you’re personally invested, they will find the whole presentation more engaging and take what you have said to heart.