Perhaps the biggest challenge with giving a presentation is keeping your audience’s attention for the entire presentation. These days, speakers are competing with smartphones, emails, text messages, and social media at everyone’s fingertips. There’s no doubt you or someone near you has been scrolling through their phone, texting, or even chatting with the person next to them during a presentation. We have all sat through mundane presentations so we know how easy it is to get distracted. As a presenter, it is your job to create a presentation that is not only informative, but is engaging and interesting to the audience. After all, engaging the audience is the best way to keep them focused and attentive to your message. For that reason, consider the following key components to designing a more engaging presentation.
1. Start with an Icebreaker
You want to engage your audience right from the start and a great way to do this is by warming them up with an icebreaker. Perhaps you ask an interesting question like, “What is your deepest fear?” You might prefer to infuse a little humor and start with a joke. You may even show a video clip of something currently trending on social media. No matter which type you choose, the goal of an icebreaker is to make everyone feel at ease and comfortable so they are more likely to pay attention. Icebreakers are a great way to break the awkward tension in the room while also helping people relax and have fun. They create a positive atmosphere that is more conducive to learning.
2. Use Storytelling
People can’t resist a good story and this is easily one of the most powerful tools for engaging an audience. Avoid boring, mundane, choreographed presentations by making them more personal with a story. Stories engage the audience, evoke empathy, and motivate action. Storytelling is effective because it brings your message to life.
3. Make Eye Contact
You should never underestimate the power of good eye contact. When you look someone in the eye, you immediately form a connection with them that makes them feel as though you are speaking directly to them. This gives your presentation a more personal and intimate feel and can help you deliver your message more effectively.
4. Body Language
When it comes to delivering a powerful presentation, it’s not always about what you say. It’s about how you say it. You can communicate so much with your audience without the use of words. Body language combines your hand gestures, facial expressions, posture, and movements to tell others what is going on inside your head. Simply put, your body language tells the story behind your words. Using body language effectively during a presentation can help you connect with your audience. For example, a smile is a universal message of trust and positivity. Your hands can also be used to illustrate points and convey your message with strength and conviction. Moving around the stage is another way to captivate your audience and encourage audience reciprocity.
5. Add Visuals and Audio Effects
It can be difficult to listen to someone speak for an entire presentation so break things up and make it more interesting by adding videos, music, or sound effects. This will naturally perk up the audience and help draw their attention back to your message. Videos are also a great way to refocus your audience and revive their interest.
6. Involve the Audience
Make the audience feel like they are part of your presentation by involving them in different ways. Perhaps you can ask for a show of hands, take a poll, or invite questions. You can also perform a demonstration with a member of the audience. You can even break the audience into small groups and have them perform a task. Inviting them to be active participants is a sure fire way to keep them engaged.
7. Keep it Simple and to the Point
The main key to keeping an audience engaged is to keep things simple and to the point. Don’t overdo it with complex information, distracting slides, or lengthy speaking. An effective and engaging presentation consists of several good points, a clear structure, and a few effective visuals and stories.