Engaging Your Audiences

We’ve all heard boring presentations; numerous reasons why come to mind. One of the main reasons a presentation is boring is that the speaker is into him/herself and not the audience. In the speaking, training and coaching industry I’ve heard multiple times, “There are no boring speeches, only boring speakers.” What do you think?

Whether you deliver a legal, scientific, technical, financial, or change in policy and procedure presentation you can and need to engage your audience. To keep the audience alive and enthralled, change your tempo every seven to eight minutes:
1. Ask a question – rhetorical or not
2. Give them an exercise – either solo or with people
3. Tell them a story
4. Bring in a video
5. Ask for their input
6. Have them repeat something that you want them to remember
All of the above allows the audience to be part of your presentation.

It’s about the audience, it’s not about you.

Another part of engagement is the question and answer period, or even during the talk. When you ask for someone’s input, repeat what s/he said. Always repeat the question and the answers, if an audience member chimes in. Consider every person in the room, not just the people who actively participate. When you answer a listener’s question – and after you’ve repeated it – look around the room to various groups and other individuals, not just the person who asked the question; allow all of them the benefit of your answer.

Your best friends during your presentation are your listeners. They want to learn – are eager to learn – to hear a nugget of value that they can take back to the office for their professional and back home for their personal lives. You want them to recite something of interest that you said, a tool, tip or quotation that will help them save time, save money, or make them better co-workers, employees, maybe even better looking!

Think of a presenter that made you feel better. Think of what s/he said or did that made you laugh, made you think, or made you understand a process or yourself in a different light and a more concrete way. Didn’t that make your day, week, month…life?

You too can do this. You too can help change a life for the better when you engage your audience with any type of information. A change of pace, a funny story, a question, a “who can answer that question?” or a prop that accentuates a point.

The next time you have the privilege of the platform, educate your audience with beneficial and valuable tools and tips, enlighten them about that benefit and value, and entertain them. (You don’t have to be a comedian, you have to only lighten up, smile, tell a funny story, or make fun of yourself.) When you have fun with your topic, so will the audience.

Get your audiences involved; they will remember your message in a positive light, how you made them feel, and you.

Here’s to your next presentation and its value to the audience.

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