How many times have you found yourself nodding off during a presentation? Why? Because your brain works quickly and once you pass information off as unimportant or uninteresting, you stop paying attention. This is perhaps the greatest challenge for presenters. How can they not only capture the attention of their audience, but also command their attention throughout the entire presentation? The best presenters are those who engage their audience right from the start and leave them hungry for more. Consider the following tips and tricks that will captivate your audience and keep them engaged throughout your entire presentation.
Start Off with Something Shocking
Don’t start your presentation with a boring introduction stating your name and your topic. Rather, inspire interest right away by sharing a shocking statistic or startling fact. You might even do something bolder like dance, play music, or perform a trick of some sort. The point is to give the audience the opposite of what they expect. This unpredictability shocks the brain into paying attention. This is a sure fire way to captivate your audience right from the start.
Ask Thought Provoking Questions
At some point during your presentation, present your audience with a thought provoking question such as a “What if” scenario. A “What if” question moves the audience from listening to participating in the conversation. These kinds of questions encourage the audience to think outside the box and consider things from a different perspective. It’s a great way to make your presentation more engaging and interactive.
Tell a Story
People naturally love stories and they are an excellent way to convey experiences, evoke emotions, and persuade people to take action. Stories are engaging because they are easier to relate to than facts and statistics. Use real life examples to illustrate your points whenever possible. The more you weave stories into your presentation, the more people will pay attention.
Involve the Audience
Another great way to keep your audience engaged is to ask them to participate in the presentation. Play a game, ask questions, invite guests on stage, perform a group exercise, or take a poll. All of these are great ways to invite your audience to become part of the presentation.
Even the most serious of topics could use some humor from time to time. Humor is a great way to ease tensions and create a lighthearted atmosphere. It’s also been shown that when people laugh together, they form a deeper bond. Therefore, find ways to incorporate humor throughout your presentation. You don’t have to push the boundaries, but a few lighthearted jokes are likely to facilitate likability and capture attention.
Use Inflection and Pauses
We can usually tell people are emotionally invested in their topic by their voice. Get excited about your topic and use emotional inflection to put real meaning behind your words. At the same time, utilize the power of pauses to make your points more memorable and dramatic. When you connect with the audience’s emotions, you are more likely to hold their attention throughout the presentation.