It's not surprising that public speaking is most people's worst fear. But even if you're a natural at speaking to crowds, it can still be incredibly difficult to engage and entertain your audience. Here are some tips on how to do it:
1. Practice Makes Perfect
Being under prepared for a presentation is the quickest way to lose the attention of your audience. Start with writing a script and standing in front of the mirror to rehearse it, making changes each time. Remember to talk loudly and clearly so everyone can hear. Once you feel like you're on the right track, ask a friend or family member to be your audience and ask for honest feedback. And, if you have time, try practicing your presentation in the conference roomwhere you will hold the meeting—you will be more comfortable during your presentation if you are already familiar with the conference room.
2. Have a Strong Opening
It doesn't take an audience long to tune out if they think the information is dry or boring. Try to elicit an emotional response right off the bat so people feel like they can relate to the information. Tell a joke, a story or reveal something shocking. This will create a friendly atmosphere and get people to pay attention to what you're saying.
3. Make Them Laugh
Humor is a presenter's most powerful tool. However, you have to know how to use it. Make sure your jokes are professional in nature, and be careful not to offend anybody in the room. Check out these tips on how to add humor to your presentation from Dummies.com. Just be careful not to turn your conference room into a comedy club.
4. Make it Personal
Simply repeating dull facts from info-graphics while people sit in a conference room won't do the job. If you want to engage your audience, make these facts and figures interesting by relating them to real-life scenarios. Turn your presentation into a story that has a beginning, middle and end.
5. Interact with Your Audience
Most conference room presentations make you feel like you are being talked at rather than talked to. Make your audience feel like they are part of the presentation by making it interactive. You could try:
- Asking for opinions
- Asking questions
- Polling the audience
- Bringing up a participant
Forbes.com explains that interacting with the audience is the oldest trick in the book for one simple reason...because it works. Make your next presentation a memorable one by using the tricks listed above.
Public speaking isn't easy, and actually engaging with your audience is even harder. But with the right mix of preparation, humor and interaction, your next conference room presentation is sure to be a hit.
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