Connect with your audience: Engage them, right away! Try asking questions, even if they are rhetorical, to get them thinking. If it’s a manageable group, ask questions to get them involved. Introducing a new and interesting statistic, an appropriate quote or testimony grabs their attention. Continuous lecture and expecting your audience to hang onto every word is an old style of presenting.
Be lively: Use your voice and gestures to help bring your presentation to life. A dull monotone speaker gets tuned out very quickly. Being lively doesn’t mean you have to flit around the room like a butterfly – move with purpose and go where you need to go. Flitting around with no purpose makes you look nervous and it makes your audience nervous to watch you, which is when they quit listening.
Know Your Topic: Know it so well that your slides are only back up to you as the presenter. Never turn your back on your audience and read the PPT. That’s a surefire way to cut engagement and insult your audience – they can read! The slides should be visually appealing and not a bunch of bullets, full sentences or paragraphs.
Keep it Simple: Don’t use 100 words when 10 will do. Getting overly technical and detailed will surely go over some heads as well as in one ear and out the other. Get to the point without rambling. If you are scheduled for 30 minutes try finishing up at 25 minutes and leaving 5 for Q&A. Your audience will appreciate you valuing their time and sticking to the timeline – if they want more detail invite them to connect with you after the presentation. Stick around and make some valuable connections.
Be set up and ready to go: When audience members walk into the setting be ready versus fiddling with equipment and set up. Technical issues arise all the time however don’t use it as an excuse – carry HDMI, VGA, adaptors and extension cords with you to be prepared. Arrive early and you will be more confident about getting the set up right and not have to rely on the venue’s resources. There have been many times I’ve been told there is an HDMI set up only to find its VGA. That little adaptor comes in handy.
5 pretty easy ways to improve your connection and increase your credibility with your audience. It’s all about connection, not perfection.