Lights...camera...action! The research is done; the presentation complete; the audience assembled; now it's your turn to take the spotlight. You might be thinking, I'm ready, now I just need to connect with the audience. Whether you're talking one-on-one with a reporter, hosting a webinar, or giving a keynote speech at an industry event, what can you do to boost your confidence and wow your audience?
Here are 5 tips for connecting with your audience:
1. Custom Fit like a Glove
"One size fits all" is nice in theory, but it's not very realistic. Before you print that PowerPoint, understand what your audience is looking for. What information are they expecting you to provide? What are they hungry to learn? Should you use industry jargon or avoid it altogether? Tailor your messages, your tone, even your delivery style to fit each audience. Taking time to customize your presentation can mean the difference between making a connection and getting a cold reception.
2. Live and Breathe Your Message
Breathing life into your presentation begins with knowing the core messages you are there to deliver. Be it a personal triumph or a corporate pitch, successful presenters stay on message because they know the message inside and out. Take the time to memorize the key messages and supporting proof points so that you can focus on your delivery, instead of the content.
3. Show, Don't Tell
"A funny thing happened on the way to the forum..." Begin or end your presentation with a story that illustrates the key messages. The best way to connect with your audience is to speak to them, not at them. Be expressive, help your audience get as excited about the topic as you are. Choose lively, colorful, and descriptive words that speak to the five senses or convey emotion. Use sentences that describe your presentation's core concepts in a visual way.
4. The Rules of Engagement
Interact with your audience, get them to think, to laugh, to feel. Create your presentation so that you can engage them in the material. Develop your script to include moments of audience participation - be it a simple show of hands, a role play, or a Q&A session at the end. You'll never know if you've made a connection unless you give your audience a chance to connect.
5. Like a Scout, Always be Prepared
Hands flail in the air; questions jump at you from four corners of the room; decorum has dwindled. There will be times when, regardless of how well the presentation is going, members of the audience seem determined to stick to an agenda of their own, throwing you off track, off topic, even off the subject. Know before the big day how you would handle challenging or controversial questions from a rude reporter, an apathetic audience, or time-stretched executives. Above all, remain sangfroid (keep your cool) when thrown off guard.
Having a fresh set of eyes on your presentation can spot any stumbling blocks. Click below for free consultation session to prepare for your future audience.