Speaking in front of a crowd takes guts and talent. You have to be confident in yourself and your abilities. Usually, you are tasked with speaking in front of a group when you have something to share or teach the audience.
It’s not easy to talk in front of a group of people, whether the group is big or small, but it’s something that you can learn. Here are some presentation techniques you can use to keep your audience engaged and excited while you are presenting any topic:
Get to the venue early.
Your discussion/script should be ready way before you head to the venue. But, before you even start talking about anything, you have to observe the space. Look around the venue, and imagine where the audience will sit. Walk around and get a feel for the place. If you will have a slideshow presentation, do a test run so you know how it will look from the audience perspective.
You have to look like you are happy to be there at the venue presenting that discussion. You have to be energetic. Your attitude comprises a part of your presentation skills. If you present a happy and upbeat personality, your audience will be more excited to learn about what you will talk about.
Involve your audience from the start.
As soon as you step onto the stage or the front of the room, address your audience. You are there to help them. You are there to present to them. Show them that you are interested in them by addressing them. Use phrases with the words you and your so they feel a personal connection with you.
Give them an overview of what to expect.
In your first few lines, tell the audience members what they can expect to learn or gain from your discussion. Telling your listeners what’s in it for them gives them a reason to sit up and pay attention.
Always remember that your first few lines are crucial.
You have to come at them with something interesting. Just like a book or write-up, the first few lines of your presentation will be crucial. You have to grab their attention right away so that they won’t tune out after 10 minutes.
Tell a story.
Humans are naturally curious beings. Telling your audience a story will give them something to look forward to. They will all want to know how that story ends. Hence, you’ll keep them glued to what you are presenting. The story you present should be connected to the topic of your presentation. Telling a story related to your topic of discussion makes the whole presentation more engaging.
Ask questions during your discussion.
Don’t give your audience a chance to get off focus. Ask them questions or throw a question to one specific audience member. Learning the art of questioning the audience will enhance your presentation skills in general.
Don’t use up your entire talk time for the presentation.
It’s tough enough to sit down and listen intensely for 30 minutes, so it’s even tougher to have to try to do that for an hour. If you are scheduled to talk for one hour, you know you’ll have a tough task of keeping the audience interested. Instead, why don’t you use only 30 minutes of that time for the actual talk, have 15 minutes for the audience to ask questions, and another 15 minutes clarifying certain points or answering the audience queries.
When you are the presenter, you have to monitor yourself. Don’t get too wordy. Don’t go on and on about the topic. Take a step back and stop. Let the audience process what you have said. Periodic silence plays a part in effective presentation techniques because it allows the group to really internalise what you just said.
Inject humour into your presentation.
Don’t be boring. Insert a joke to give the listeners a mental break. Even if you’re talking about something serious, you still need to have a funny line somewhere in your talk.
Have good visuals.
Many people are visual learners. That is why it’s important to have eye-catching visuals. You can use charts, graphs, or bright colors to attract attention.
Don’t rely solely on the slides.
As a presenter, you have to know that you cannot just read the slides you are presenting. You also should not let your audience read the slides. You are there to use the slides as your visual aid, but you should also explain what those visuals mean with regard to your presentation.
Practice your delivery.
You should face your audience fully prepared. That means practice and rehearse your lines several times beforehand. As the presenter, it is your job to keep the focus of the group on the discussion.
Keep the tone conversational.
Even if you are presenting a serious topic, you have to keep the tone conversational. Let the audience feel that you are just sitting down having a casual talk. Don’t make it monotonous and boring.
Don’t rush through the presentation.
Make yourself look like an expert and do not rush through the presentation. This is not to say you should be slow as a snail while delivering your lines, but just keep a good pace. Expert speakers do not rush through their presentation. Rushing usually signifies unpreparedness, nervousness, and anxiety. You want your audience to believe what you are saying so you have to seem knowledgeable on the topic.
The words you are delivering should have emotion. Be upbeat when you make a joke, and use a more serious tone to drive the serious points home. Be conscious of how you sound and the emotion you are projecting during your presentation. No one wants to listen to a discussion that seems like a rant.
Don’t be stiff.
Don’t be afraid to move around the stage. Standing in one spot for the whole discussion will make it feel too robotic. You need to loosen up and use a little movement.
Don’t move around too much.
You can move around, but don’t move too much. It’s not a good idea to continuously pace during your presentation. Movement will attract the eyes, and if your listeners are too busy following your movement, they will not hear what you have to say.
Make your discussion easy to follow.
Keep things simple for your audience. Don’t bombard them with heavy facts and data. Keep is easy to follow. Move from one point to another seamlessly. Try not to confuse the group with too many points. Just have an easy flow from point A to point B to point C.
End on a serious point.
Even if you inserted a healthy shot of humour in your presentation, remember to recap your important points to wrap things up. End with a short summary of the highlights of your talk and keep the tone serious at the end.
Being chosen to present or discuss a topic in front of an audience is a great honour. That is why you should always appreciate the opportunity to showcase your talent. You could take a course to hone your presentation techniques, but before that, start off by following these 20 tips to keep your audience engaged during your presentations.
If you wish to learn more about effective presentation skills, enroll in Screenwise’s Corporate Presentation Classes.