You've followed all the steps to become a thought leader. You've planned your media event down to the smallest detail. Now, all of your hard work has paid off, and it's your turn to take the spotlight. You might be thinking, I'm ready, now I just need to connect with my 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 everyone listening?
Here are 5 tips for connecting with your audience:
1. Tailor Your Message
"One size fits all" is nice in theory, but it's not very realistic. Before you publish 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. Show, Don't Tell
People are storytelling beings. We absorb information better in story form. One way to bring this into your presentation is to begin or end with a story that illustrates your 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 visually.
3. 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 track because they know their message inside and out. Take the time to memorize the key points and supporting proof points so that you can focus on your delivery, instead of the content.
4. The Rules of Engagement
Seasoned stage actors often say that you can feel the energy of the audience when they are engaged. Tap into that energy by interacting with your audience, get them to think, to laugh, to feel. 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. Hope for the Best, Prepare for the Worst
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, keep your cool!.
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.