When it comes to delivering presentations, nothing is more important than connecting with your audience. It doesn’t matter if you’re trying to close in on a deal or proposing a new project to the higher-ups. You can’t say that your ideas have been well-received if the audience can’t engage with your pitch. It’s not enough to pique their interest with a few video clips or anecdotes. Before you focus on the spectacle, you need to make sure your presentation is perfectly executed. What’s really essential to audience engagement is your ability to present with clarity and certainty.
Here are some quick presentation tips to make sure your audience has an engaging experience:
1.) Learn your presentation inside and out
I’m sure you’ve sat through a presentation where the speaker constantly stammered through their speech, trying hard to remember what to say next. No matter how interesting their material was, the uncertainty in their delivery probably proved to be distracting. If you want to avoid being in a similar situation, it’s important to learn every detail of your presentation.
Audience engagement rests in your ability to command attention. You can’t do that if you’re reading from your slides or fidgeting with note cards. The audience needs to see that you know what you’re saying. Take the time to rehearse your presentation as much as you can. You can also try the memory palace technique to memorize your key points.
2.) Condense your PowerPoint deck
By now, we’re all familiar with the concept of ‘death by PowerPoint’. As experts repeatedly emphasize, there’s no easier way to disengage an audience than by presenting them with slides that are loaded with too much information. If your slides are full with indecipherable charts and text, take a step back and start focusing on your visuals.
Instead of filling your PowerPoint deck with bullet points and text, try to illustrate your points instead. As we often advice in this blog, make use of images and other multimedia elements to articulate your ideas. If you’re dealing with data, you need to decide which ones are the most relevant to your core message. There are several online tools that can help you with data visualization.
3.) Tailor your presentation for the audience
This might seem like obvious advice, but very few presenters take into account the perspective of their audience.Their presentations often sound like generic spiels because of this. How do you connect with something you’ve heard a million times before? If you want to stand out, you need to remember that the audience isn’t a homogeneous group. The people sitting in your audience are individuals with their own unique perspectives and opinions. In other words, audience engagement relies on your ability to personalize your message.
To get inside their heads, you need to ponder on four important questions. Answering these questions will give you some necessary context to create a presentation that will pull your audience in:
- Who are they?
- Why are they coming?
- What action do you want them to take?
- Why might they resist your message?
4.) Keep everyone interested by creating ‘soft breaks’
Audience engagement will be much easier if it wasn’t for our short attention spans. With so much tasks begging for our attention these days, it’s no surprise that the average adult attention span is only a few minutes short. As hard as you try to simplify your message and learn more about the audience, it’s hard to contend with everyone’s shifting attention.
That’s why presentation expert Carmine Gallo emphasized the importance of the 10-minute rule. If you lose the attention of your audience, you can re-engage them by creating ‘soft breaks’ after every 10 minutes or so. Give them a chance to pause and digest new information by incorporating videos, demonstrations, and other activities. Try to create an interactive environment by posing questions that they can answer through polls or a show of hands. If you want to, you can also call up other people from your team to share a new perspective with the audience.
5.) Deliver your presentation with passion and enthusiasm
Finally, the last step to audience engagement is to lead by example. If your presentation delivery falls flat, your audience will easily pick up on that. You can’t expect them to feel enthusiastic about the ideas you’re sharing if you’re mumbling through your presentation. You need to show how passionate you are about your subject matter. That’s the only way you can deliver a message that will make others feel the same way.
It isn’t hard to deliver a presentation that can engage and connect with an audience. In five easy steps, you can easily make sure that your message sticks and stays with everybody.