In the business world, good communication is a key to success. Without it, you will have a difficult time with your bosses, co-workers, customers and clients. For many business professionals, presentations and speeches are often a routine part of the job. Whether you are trying to win a new client, recruit your next wave of employees or convince someone to buy your product or service, you to make your presentation interesting and keep the audience engaged. By keeping them engaged, you have a greater chance of getting what you want from them, as well as getting them to do what it is that you want them to do.
Visual representations of the ideas you are hoping to get across are often necessary, but relying too heavily on them is a surefire way to drain your audience’s interest. Who wants to read slide after slide and look at chart after chart? You should use them to illustrate main points, but the real focus of the presentation is for you to convey your ideas through your speech.
When we are giving presentations, it is easy to get caught up in the moment, concentrating on what you are saying, what you still need to cover, etc; this can disengage you from the audience. You may forget to look at the participants while you are speaking or forget to have them participate by asking questions. Asking questions is a vital part of keeping your audience involved in your presentation. Research has shown audiences will only remember about 30 percent of the information given to them but about 85 percent of the questions asked of them; that’s a big difference. The questions do not necessarily need be ones that require answers, though; rhetorical questions works as well, as they engage the person’s mind in the same way as a regular question.
Even the most staid of topics have some room for humor when presenting the information. Everyone loves to laugh, but do not go overboard. Inject it naturally when appropriate and lean more towards humor rather than actual joke-telling; the latter can get drawn out and has a greater potential to fall flat. Laughter makes us feel better mentally and it also produces changes in the body that are conducive to a more engaged audience, such as reduced stress, an adrenaline rush to make us feel more alert and awake, which leads to improved information retention.
When it comes to engaging your audience, how you present the information is paramount. If you are dealing with complex subject matter, come up with metaphors or analogies that simplify it; ideally you will base them off something relevant to the presentation and audience. They will get your audience’s attention and will make them understand the material better; the better they understand it, the more it will interest them. When appropriate, tell anecdotes that illustrate the points you are trying to get across, whether they are about you personally or someone else. We all love a good story, after all.
When trying to make certain points, use guided imagery to really engage the audience. Help them feel what you want them to feel and see what you want them to see. This can really draw the audience into the experience.
Kelli Cooper is a freelance writer who enjoys helping her clients grow their websites and expand their businesses. If you are looking for a speaker for a corporate event, check out Leading Authorities Speakers Bureau.