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How Do You Engage an Audience?

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

bad-powerpoint Karen Reisman Executive Speech coachYou prepare your presentation using fifty plus PowerPoint slides. Your “deck” includes lots of graphs, text, and data. You present your 45-minute speech and your audience claps. Did you succeed in engaging your crowd? NO! You just ran through fifty slides in 45 minutes!

Have you ever gone to sleep at night wishing you had seen just one more of these PowerPoint presentations with lots of bullets and text?

Have you ever thought, “Gee – I want a presenter to read to me from overstuffed slides”?

But, have you ever felt like hearing some story or information that inspires you?

You want to engage an audience? Here are some quick tips:

  1. Engage an audience by engaging your audience. Have your audience DO something such as stand up, write something on a piece of paper, answer a question with a show of hands, or … be creative here. HINT: do what rabbis, ministers and preachers do at a religious service – they have the congregation stand up, kneel down, read responsively, or sing.
  2. Engage your audience sooner than later. The earlier you get your audience to do something, the more involved they will be throughout your talk.
  3. Engage your audience by being clever. Do NOT expect your audience to be happy with an over-bulleted PowerPoint presentation. Bullets kill! Instead – share stories that are relevant to your message. Use analogies and metaphors. Have a sense of humor. You may still need to share data. You can! Just do it carefully. You can create a document to give out at the conclusion of your message. You can show your trends and stats with less words and more visuals. You can tell us where to look when you give us detailed tables or graphs.

Your presentations are not monologues. Even if you are the only one speaking, you are successful ONLY when you engage your audience.