engage your audience when presenting

The word “presenting” can be a little dangerous. A presentation is not about delivering information, it’s much more about engaging your audience.

To help you, here are some ideas that I feel will significantly improve the way you engage your audience.

Make it about them
Use your empathetic skills to think about what would be interesting and important for your audience when putting the material together. Remember to keep your self-indulgence in check, as what’s interesting to you may not be to the audience.

Make your presentations visual
I recently carried out a 25 minute presentation with 55 slides (remember that mistaken rule of 2 minutes per slide?). You need to limit the detail on your slides and use more images, diagrams and video clips to keep it interesting. Remember you can also use props and flip charts too for more variety.

Do away with notes
You can use visual memory techniques to remember your presentation. At the very least use cue cards or cues from your slide images, but don’t read from notes or even worse from wordy presentation slides!

Use stories
People may find what you have to say interesting, but this will be greatly helped by telling some stories. Interesting stories that relate to your subject, stories about people you have worked with and personal stories from your own experience.

Interact with your audience
Ask questions at the start and throughout and use simple exercises to break up your presentation and relate to your audience.

Make eye contact
Ensure you give the audience eye contact throughout. If the audience is sizeable you can’t give everyone eye contact, but you can give eye contact to each area. Even better if you remember to smile too.

Use vocal variety
Use a range of volume and pace to make your spoken delivery more interesting. You could be talking about the most interesting topic in the world, but if you speak quietly and in a monotone voice, you will lose your audience.

Make greater use of the word YOU
Most of all, make greater use of the word ‘You’, rather than ‘I’. This will show you are interested in your audience and not just talking about yourself.

Try one or all of these and see the improvements in the way you engage your audience.

If you would like help in becoming a better presenter, you can join me when I run my next presentation skills training programme in partnership with the East Midlands Chamber in June. You can find out more about the new 2 day presentation skills course by clicking here.

Note: I may also be able to provide discounts for trainer referrals, so if you are interested, please give me a call on 07912 143040 or email me at tony@theleadershiptrainingworkshop.com