Your goal as a presenter is to not only inform your audience, but also to engage them. No one wants to waste their time sitting through a presentation that is boring and dull, so it’s important to look for ways to really engage your audience so they feel like they are part of your presentation. That said, keeping an audience’s attention for long periods of time is one of the biggest challenges when crafting a presentation. It’s easy for audiences to get distracted by emails, text messages, or even that chatty neighbor in the seat next to them.
Engaging the crowd is the best way to keep them focused and interested. Not only will interacting with the audience help them better understand your message, but they will be more likely to retain the information as well. So, here are a few tips and tricks to help make your presentation more engaging.
Break the Ice
Start the presentation off by capturing the audience’s attention right away with an ice breaker. You could start with something like a straightforward question to get the audience thinking. For example, “What is your biggest fear?” or “What would you do with a million dollars?” You could also opt for a shocking statistic or bomb shattering statement.The beauty of ice breakers is that there is one for any occasion. You can make them fun and silly or serious and thought provoking. Either way, it gets the audience thinking and excited about what is coming next.
Audiences never get tired of a good story. Stories create an immersive experience for audiences, making them feel like they’re a part of the presentation. Stories also have a unique way of tapping into the emotions of listeners, whereby they feel personally connected to the presentation. Speakers can entertain their audience and make their presentation more memorable with great storytelling.
Don’t Tell Them, Show Them
Presentation slideshows are great visual aids, but they are only meant to support what the speaker is saying. Therefore, don’t rely solely on your slides when presenting information. Don’t just tell them what you want them to know, show them. For example, Steve Jobs did an amazing job of now only telling the audience about how his new iPhone would revolutionize technology, he showed them. You can do the same in your own presentation. If you are pitching a new product, show the audience exactly what it does and how it works. You can also show audiences through video clips, props, and demonstrations. If seeing is believing, you can drive your message home by “showing it” to your audience.
Some of the best presentations ever given have all featured some humor. No matter the subject, a great presenter knows how to build rapport with their audience through the use of humor. Humor and charisma is the perfect blend for a home run presentation. Humor brings people together through laughter and that’s why it works.
Ask the Audience Questions
Engage your audience by asking them to actively participate in the presentation through the use of questions. Not only do questions allow the audience to interact, but it also helps you gain valuable insight about your audience. You can do this a number of ways such as asking for a show of hands, taking a poll, having a Q&A session, or allowing audience members to answer through an interactive app.
Make Eye Contact
Eye contact is one of the simplest yet most powerful ways to connect with your audience. Establishing and maintaining eye contact gives your presentation a more intimate feel, as if you are talking directly to that person.
Use Social Media
It’s safe to say that just about everyone in your presentation will have a smartphone handy. Put this to good use by allowing your audience to interact with you before, during and after the presentation through social media. Twitter, for example, can be a great tool to use to communicate with your audience. Introduce a hashtag and invite people to share their own thoughts and ideas during the presentation and even after it is over.