” Before your message can stick, your audience has to want to hear about your idea and you need to believe in it”.
Clear, concise and well prepared content and message is critical for a successful presentation, and yet this not enough. A speaker must also be able to deliver the message in a compelling way in order to connect with the audience. Together these factors are essential for presenters to capture the audience attention and interest. Knowledge is shared and curiosity is raised in the hope of moving the audience toward change in opinions and a commitment to action. In this process the presenter wants to be seen and experienced as an effective and authentic communicator.
So what are some effective and proven methods you can use to accomplish this goal of being perceived as interesting and a compelling presenter:
1. Showing-up, Being present and Believing . Open with confidence, energy and strong presence. Focus on the audience needs and by providing interactive elements.
Presentation experts call this taking command of the room. I call this moment being present. This method will help you overcome nervousness, if it is combined with a powerful quote, compelling statistic or story. Another way is to use interactive elements
in your opening. Break down the wall between speaker and audience. Step out from the podium and ask the audience a question and have them answer by a show of hands or have them face a partner and interact. People will put up with a nervousness and stumbling in your presentation if you are involving them. This approach sets the stage for an effective presentation by demonstrating empathy and raising curiosity of audience members.
2. Provide a “roadmap” for the presentation. This technique signals to the audience what topics are to be covered. Many presenters use this technique to ask audience members if there are any other ideas they would like to learn about or do some of the topics not meet their expectations. Using this approach says to audience members you are willing to be flexible and provides a great opportunity for audience involvement and engagement. Some presenters are anxious about using this technique because they think they will lose control. Trust me this techniques works and you have the ability to say no new topics and it provides more information about the audience needs which provides many benefits for you as a presenter.
3. Be quick on your feet—be aware of audience members body language and non-verbal cues during the presentation so you can assess how you are doing. Don’t ignore negative signals.
Pick up on sagging energy in the room, audience frowns, or arms folded etc. Make sure your body movement matches your message. If you’re trying to be convincing, your hand gestures should be symmetrical. But don’t make them too rehearsed; your physical motions should be driven by emotions and words. If you keep your hands down at your sides, you tend to look scared. Aim to have you hands more level with your chest, on what Samuels calls the “passion plane.”
4. Engage audience by designing parts that play to different learning styles —Include a visual, auditory and kinesthetic experiences by surprising them with different activities. People learn differently so if you include all three types of information you’ll connect and engage more audience members.
5. Give the audience AHA moments. This presentation technique provides and leaves the audience with ideas, insights and memorable moments. Maybe you’ll hand something out to the crowd (self assessment quiz) or bring something surprising on stage. An AHA moment can be most effective at the start or end of a presentation but can be used through the presentation to capture audience attention, interest and engagement with the presenter and topic under discussion.
Remember, make sure you have a strong and energetic opening, message deliver and close.
We often start strong but don’t think about where we want the presentation to go. Do you want everyone to stand up in the end? Do you want them to say something simultaneously? Plan even the last couple minutes in advance. Don’t just say for example, “well that’s it for now” and start to pack-up to leave.