Think about all the time you spend preparing for a huge conference presentation or speech, and once you get started you notice that the audience loses focus and stops listening. It’s a pretty uncomfortable feeling, right?
From where you stand, by simply communicating your thoughts and statements concisely and quickly, you think anyone will understand and show interest, but that’s not the case.
“Facts and statistics may tell a story, but if you truly want to effect change and influence the way your audience thinks and feels, you will have to go beyond straightforward communications,” explains Marla Tabaka, Contributor to Inc.com. “The key to really getting people to listen and act: Touch them on an emotional level.”
One of the worst ways to start your stellar speech is to open with housekeeping details, thank yous, a corny joke, or a poorly thought out string of thoughts filled with “ums” and “uhs”. You have about 60 seconds to really capture the audience’s attention, so use that short time wisely.
Ready to grab your audience’s attention? Read our top three tips below!
By starting out with a personal story, you’re opening up to the audience and connecting with them on an emotional level. This technique allows the audience to immediately become engaged.
“By showing others that you’re human, people can relax and better connect with you,” explains Jacqueline Whitmore, Contributor for Entrepreneur.com. “Don’t be afraid to share a story or two about how you failed at something and what you learned in the process. Disclosing an event with some emotional fallout builds trust. Open up and be willing to give your audience the chance to get to know you, the real you.”
Make It About the Audience
Using this strategy means you must fine-tuning your presentation as much as possible to your selective audience. In order to get your peers to listen to you, make your presentation fit their lives.
“Talk about their goals, their aspirations, their anxieties,” explains Sims Wyeth, Contributor to Inc.com. “Cicero, a Roman statesman and orator, and one of the greatest speakers in the history of the world, said, ‘Tickling and soothing anxieties is the test of a speaker’s impact and technique.’ He meant that you can capture attention if you remind an audience of a felt need, a pain point, or a threat to their well-being.”
Lead the Conversation
Think about it: if you spend your entire presentation or speech just talking, and not engaging with the audience or giving them something to do, how well are you really capturing their attention? The answer is not very well.
“Sometimes the best course of action is to lead a dialogue rather than give a straightforward presentation,” explains Whitmore. “Allow audience members to ask questions. Organize group discussion and encourage feedback. This will keep your audience engaged and involved throughout the presentation.”
Utilizing these three simple tips can help capture your audience’s attention and engage with them throughout your presentation. A killer presentation can gain momentum for your personal brand and leave you with dozens of new leads!