Whether you are giving a speech in a boardroom in front of a few coworkers or a presentation in front of a large crowd in an auditorium, it is vital that you connect with your audience. You might have excellent information and be very knowledgeable about your topic but if you fail to connect with your audience there is a good chance they will walk away without retaining much of what you said. When you connect with your audience, you create a learning environment that peaks the interest and captures the attention of your audience. Here are a few simple ways to connect with your audience in order to deliver an effective presentation.
Mingle before you present.
Take the time to walk around and introduce yourself as people gather. Learn a little bit about who they are and network before you begin. This is a great way to build a positive rapport with your audience before the presentation even begins. This is a very simple technique that can go a long way in creating a connection with the crowd.
Establish eye contact.
Many presenters get nervous when speaking and tend to look down or stare straight to the back of the room. This is one of the quickest ways to lose audience attention. Instead, make it a point to look people in the eyes and maintain eye contact for a few seconds. This simple technique will engage your audience and make them feel as if you are speaking directly to them.
Tell a story.
Begin by telling your own personal story. Share a little bit about your background and tell about any personal experiences that might tie into the presentation. This will help the audience relate to you. It will make your presentation feel much more personal.
The audience will appreciate a little spontaneity. Try to speak off the cuff when you can and avoid reading to your audience. They will appreciate your honesty and it will help break down the barrier between audience and presenter.
Use humor wisely.
Telling a humorous tale about oneself is a great way to lighten the mood and capture audience attention. It will show that you are a normal, approachable person who is just trying to convey information rather than someone who sees themselves as the expert on a topic. Just be sure to keep any humor relevant, brief and politically correct.
It is unlikely that audience members will walk away from a presentation remembering facts and figures. They will, however, remember interesting analogies that were used to get the point across. This is a great way to help the audience understand the information you are presenting and they will appreciate the creative way in which you explained the material.
The most important part of any presentation is to learn how to break down the barrier between the audience and the presenter in order to build a connection. When you connect with the audience, it will build important trust between the two of you. This allows for better comprehension and ultimately a more powerful presentation.