Engaging Your Audience

Too much excitement?

“I had over 100 people in my audience and no one asked questions at the end? Why?”

“I saw several attendees typing on their phones during my presentation.”

“Why did I lose some of my listeners?”

Do you ever ask yourself these questions? How do you engage your audience, whether for 10, 100 or 1,000 people or, or for twenty minutes or an hour?

Four types of presentations are the norm:

  1. Informative – the most common. You convey information and present your findings.
  2. Demonstrative – You give instructions on the “How to.”
  3. Persuasive – You want to change or reinforce your attendees thinking on a subject.
  4. Inspirational/motivational – You want to move your listeners to care about your subject and to act on their own behalf because they care; the theme is more visceral.

Many presentations need all four aspects to make them memorable.

To keep you audience engaged, alert and attentive you need to engage their minds and hearts at least every eight minutes – change course, so to speak: from facts to stories, from graphs to cartoons, from past to future, or from serious to humorous. Keep them guessing what will come next?

You’re informing your audience on the importance and innovation of new technology and products for the elderly to help them stay more independent. What’s going to keep them attentive?

  1. Good props and pictures on your PowerPoint slides
  2. Examples of how it’s been effective
  3. A personal story
  4. Humor

When you’re informing an interested audience ask open-ended questions during, not just at the end. “What can I go over again about this breathing alarm?” Give them a review and the importance of each product or application (i.e. slides that have quiz-like questions to help re-state your points.)

When you ask questions that refer to your major points or site call-backs they help your attendees retain the information as well as ignite more curiosity; therefore, more questions and understanding.

You want your audience to take away the pertinent information, the reasons for and the benefits of your ideas, service or product. Use your testimonials and personal stories to reinforce them.

Save your final point for the end, not questions and answers: “I have five minutes for questions before I conclude.” This way the audience knows you have something pithy and powerful for them to take away at the end.

The four types of presentations are a good way to plan and organize your speech. Engaging comes with coaching and practice.

 

Questions for me? How can I help you make a powerful and positive impression on your next informative, demonstrative, persuasive, or inspirational presentation? Dee@DeeDukehart.com*303-549-0045

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Proof, Proof,Proof

During my lunch break and my FB fascination, I came across a few typos today that would be alleviated had the writer taken an extra minute to proof. Yes, I know it’s FB and you’re “not expected” to write in full sentences or correctly, but it says more about you than you imagine when you’re blatantly wrong. Write and proof everything. When re-reading, editing, and proofing become a habit, it’s easier to spot your mistakes.

I did change either the place or a name to protect the writers.

  1. Before: If your are looking for an literary agent, here’s a “hot” hashtag to know about… Author U FB post.

Corrected: If you are looking for a literary agent, here’s a “hot” hashtag to know about…. Author U FB post.

2. Before: “…this is her artwork. It will be use for this event, also kept in the permanent collection at X.

Corrected: “…this is her artwork. It will be used for this event, also kept in the permanent collection at X.

3. Before: The Marina is always my happy place , I can’t wait to go sailing this week.

Corrected: The Marina is always my happy place; I can’t wait to go sailing this week.

4. Before: The doctors transferred her to another facility to treat …, otherwise she is doing great! D was excited to give her some lovin’ and so was Y and I.

Corrected: The doctors transferred her to another facility to treat …; otherwise, she is doing great! D was excited to give her some lovin’ and so were Y and I.

Do I ever just press the “send” button without proofing? Yes, I too am guilty; no excuse. If you want to keep your base dazzled by your brilliance and activities, keep your proofing eyes on the front burner.

Here’s to 100 percent-error-free documents.

Dee@DeeDukehart.com

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Where Have All the Common Courtesies Gone

I’m a stickler for common courtesy. Yes, I may ask too much of some people to think that a “thank you,” “you’re welcome,” and/or “please” is an inconvenience. How about holding a door open? How about a real, honest-to-goodness thank you note?

Do I forget to say them? Yes, not often though, but they’re ingrained in my upbringing.

Common courtesy goes a long way when you’ve had a hard day, someone else has had a worse day, or people just need and want some reinforcement that humans are polite. I do get miffed when I go out of my way to help someone, even in the smallest manner, and I don’t hear back. Again, I’ve been guilty, but I hope only once in 100’s of times people have helped me in work, play, community or other.

Thank you for reading this. Thank you for passing it on. Thank you for getting common courtesy tattooed in your heart and brain. It will make a difference in even a stranger’s world. Watch.

Enjoy,

Dee@DeeDukehart.com

 

 

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Let’s Face It

As the country – or the world for that matter – watches Mark Zuckerberg get grilled by Congress because of all the gazillion profiles and information fraudulently “stolen” from our FB pages that Cambridge Analytica gobbled up, we feel incensed and personally invaded.  And yet….

Every time you write an internal or external email, text, blog, document or other missives you put yourself out there to be scrutinized by not only the readers you addressed, but also by other people whom you don’t know read your words. Your intended readers may forward your emails and documents without your permission. If you’re a poor grammarian, a bad speller,  and/or a lazy proofreader and send out documents that are riddled with grammatical errors you are opening up yourself to be criticized, and may not even know it. You make an impression – bad or good – by the way you write.

When you write a cover letter for a job, a proposal or a college essay, when you send internal memos, when you create all your documents be cautious, be diligent, be smart about the words you use, the grammar, the syntax and the punctuation.  Your “face” peers out of every document and it’s your responsibility to look great!

Write to express and impress. Write for comprehension and clarity. Write for the reader. Take the time to proofread and to ask others to read your document before you press the send button or put that paper in an envelop. You’ll be glad you did and you won’t have to testify before a panel of your peers about why you had errors.

Dee@DeeDukehart.com

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Mixed Up?

 

I’m glad English is my native language! I admire those who have it as their second language and master its complexities.

A few words you may have questions about. “Which one is the right one?” “What’s the difference between the two?” “Does it make a difference?”

These 10 are only a few of the misused and confused:

  1. Your – possessive: “It’s your day.” v/ You’re – contraction for you are: You’re going to have a great day. “Your” is too often used instead of “you’re.”
  2. It’s – contraction for “it is”: It’s important to get these two straight. Its –  possessive: The file and its contents are vital for the client meeting.
  3. Eager – excited: I’m eager to get to the beach. Anxious – uneasy: I’m anxious about flying. (These two are often interchangeable, but these are their true meanings and usage.)
  4. To – preposition: I’m going to the beach. Too – adverb: in addition to; also: The beach is too far away for me. Two – number: I have two days before I go to the beach.
  5. All right – adverb: Ok! Everything is all right; I’ll drive. Alright – no such animal. Refrain from using this spelling.
  6. Among – preposition: more than two choices; She is among the four finalists. Between – preposition: usually only two choices. They split the project between the two departments.
  7. Fewer – adjective: of a smaller number.  Used when items can be counted. (Grocery stores are notorious for misusing these two.) This lane for 15 or fewer items. Less – adverb: to a smaller extent: Items that can’t be counted: We have less time than the others to get to the airport. Fewer employees, less production.
  8. Lay – verb: (used with an object; several meanings) to put or place: He lay the file on his chair. Lie – noun or verb: N – a false statement. V – horizontal. He lay down for an hour.
  9. Disinterested – adjective: unbiased, not influenced by personal motives: The panel was disinterested in the candidate’s attire. Uninterested – adjective: No feeling of interest; indifferent. The manager was so uninterested in the situation, she ignored it.
  10. Continual – Adjective: regular or frequent recurrences: The manager made continual appearances in the department. Continuous – Adjective: uninterrupted in time. (We breathe continuously – no interruption!) It rained continuously for three days.

Keep these words close at hand to make certain you write them correctly.

Ah, English.

Dee@DeeDukehart.com

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What?

 

Whether you’re writing or speaking, you will have communication barriers between the reader or the listener.

Some barriers:

  1. Interpretation of the message
  2. Internal feelings about the messenger
  3. Internal or external noise
  4. How you feel – a cold, tired, frustrated, etc.
  5. Interest in the subject matter
  6. Need to know or nice to know
  7. Time – in a rush, need to finish up something else?

You can help the reader with concrete images in your writing, deleting vague expressions – “soon,” “big,” “good job,” “later,” etc. Give your readers specific and concrete details. Describe to them what “soon,” “later,” etc. looks like. Paint word pictures for them.

You can help your listeners by asking open-ended questions: “What can I say to help explain this more clearly?” The listener can also help, “This is what I heard you say, is that correct?” We’re all so rushed and flummoxed about other situations in our daily lives that we “think” we’ve heard what someone said and we need to clarify to save time, frustration and aggravation.

A few more seconds in your details with writing and speaking will help everyone as well as your bottom line.

Happy Monday!

Dee@DeeDukehart.com

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Powerless PowerPoint

Too much excitement?

An acquaintance, “Paul,” asked 15 people to come to a focus group as he explained his new project about teenagers’ education. He wanted to give information and then receive feedback. For :45 we sat through a powerless slide presentation:
1.Too many slides
2. Too much copy
3. Too small of a font
4. Too light of a color on a gray background
5. Only one student of the seven student slides was smiling
6. Too busy slides; chaotic
7. Poor organization

He asked if I’d meet with him at his office to make a few recommendations; I was happy to do so.

I could tell by his face and his body language that my “radical” recommendations – color, more pictures, cartoons, quotations, etc. – did not sit well. That’s okay with me; I’d just be curious if he took any one of them to heart and changed the presentation and slides.

PowerPoint is great when designed and delivered for the audiences’ benefits:
1. Pictures, pictures, pictures more than copy
2. Only two different font types
3. Maybe in an hour’s presentation, you have 15 slides
4. Black (b) or white (w) out the slide after you’ve addressed its point; the audience will re-focus on you.
5. What do you want the listeners to remember?

Your first slide stays on the longest – usually on while your listeners are entering the room. Make it bold, brazen and bright; grab your listeners’ attention early!

Let me know how I can help transform your PowerPoint slides to pizzazzy and powerful. “Pictures are worth a ….”

Dee@DeeDukehart.com

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