Tips for Connecting with Your Audience

Many people think the best way to start their presentation is to establish credibility by rattling off a list of credentials, honors, and achievements. While credibility is important, it is not the best way to begin a presentation. Instead, you should use this time to connect with your audience. You must have a connection with people and build trust with them before you can influence or lead them. Here are a few tips for connecting with your audience to deliver a powerful message.


Create a Custom Fit Presentation

“One size fits all” is nice in theory but it’s not realistic when giving a presentation. Before you create that PowerPoint, do a little research and find out more about your audience. Who are they and what is their background? Are they top-level execs or suburban stay-at-home parents? What do they hope to learn from your presentation? How much do they know about your topic? You need to know your audience so you can relate to them and tailor your presentation to fit their needs. 


Be Likable

Likability has been listed as one of the six scientifically proven principles of persuasion and it involves establishing similarities between you and your audience. Another benefit of researching your audience ahead of time is that it allows you to identify their passions, concerns, and opinions. You can then build a connection based on your shared interests. You can speak to them in a warm tone that suggests you are on their level and you are giving them straight, honest information. 


Tell Stories

People love a good story and this is one of the most effective ways to connect with your audience. It is one of the oldest forms of communication- and it works. Storytelling can help you tap into your audience’s emotions and build rapport with them. It also helps them weave your message into a real-life scenario that is more compelling. People remember stories because they can relate to them. They evoke emotions that resonate with listeners. 


Show, Don’t Tell

Another great way to connect with your audience is through the use of pictures, videos, and props. Visuals help people to better understand what you are saying and they make the message more memorable. Choose lively, colorful images that speak to the senses and describe your core message in a visual way. 


Interact with Your Audience

If you want your audience to remember your message long after the presentation is over, you need to get them to think, laugh, and feel. Create a presentation that is both informative and interactive. Include opportunities for involvement throughout the presentation whether it be a show of hands, a poll, a game, a volunteer, or a Q&A session.