Here are five simple yet powerful techniques to make your presentations enjoyable for audiences. These strategies work for informative speeches, motivational speaking, and persuasive presentations. Equally important, they will also help you to impress your audience.
- Make eye contact. Simply put, no behaviour is as fundamental to persuasion as looking at the person you are speaking to. This is the best means for building trust, an important factor in being credible for your audience. So actively look at as many people as you can while speaking so that each person with whom you make eye contact will feel that you are speaking directly to them. In order for that to happen, you must maintain the contact for at least 5-10 seconds. This approach will increase their engagement with you, their belief that you are honest and knowledgeable, and their confidence that you are giving them important information.
- Enjoy yourself! You, as the speaker, set the tone for the room, if you are having fun and enjoying making this presentation, there is a much better chance that your audience will enjoy it as well. A speaker having fun, offering stories that may even be a bit self-deprecating (shows you are human, too) but that illustrate the points you are trying to get across to your audience will certainly be deemed more engaging and not nervous or anxious. The latter emotions will set your audience on edge and likely cause them to disengage and just feel sorry for you, but you will lose them. The key here is your preparation….the better you know your material, not memorize it but deeply understand and truly know it, the more believable and convincing you will be. So have some fun when making your presentation and your audience will have fun too!
- Smile. As public speakers, we don’t smile enough, period. Smiling is another prerequisite to establishing trust with audiences. At the very least, it is visual evidence that the speaker is getting enjoyment from making this presentation and is relaxed and into their talk. In addition, it is always easier to relate to someone who looks pleasant and happy, than to one who looks anxious, nervous, and obviously not happy.
- Put some energy into your voice. Have you ever had to strain to hear what a speaker is saying? Soft-talkers and under-energized presenters make their audience work too hard just to hear them. In addition, these speakers can seem distant and removed from their audience, which certainly does not establish much engagement. Again, you have to “carry the room” and that will be much easier to accomplish if you are energetic. You need to speak from your diaphragm, not your throat and emote…..project your voice so that everyone can hear you well. In some places, you may need a microphone, especially if it is a large hall where echoes can occur. In addition, try not to speak too fast, as this can also make it difficult to catch what you are saying.
- Speak with passion! The best way to draw in your audience is to share your passion with your topic. With the energy mentioned in the previous point and your full knowledge of the topic, when you add in the passion, you will certainly engage, convince, and entertain your audience. All of which makes a speaker well received and creates a more retentive learning environment for the attendees.
If you employ the five tips mentioned above you will be more likely to enjoy more success with your presentations and even find that you enjoy making them!