Presentation Skills 101 – Four Ways to Work With Your Audience

Giving a great presentation always involves how you interact with your audience, no matter how good a speaker you are. That’s because people aren’t coming to hear you speak for your sake, they’re doing it for their sakes. If you can’t get them involved with what you have to say, then you might as well be speaking to an empty room. Here are four simple tips to help you get the best relationship with your listeners, and ensure your talk is memorable.

Talk to them, Not at them

The greatest skill of involving your audience is to make your presentation feel like a conversation. After all, conversations are a two-way street aren’t they? Yes and No. We all have friends who can talk for hours, and while we never really get a word in edgeways their conversations are still valuable to us. You need to make sure your language is natural and flows the way you would talk, there’s nothing worse than filling up your talk with long words, jargon and “corporate speak” because real people don’t talk like that.

Get Interactive

Throw a few questions into the audience, preferably loaded ones that elicit a similar response in all your listeners. It gives them a chance to participate without dominating your speech.

In the same way, look at your group and see how they are responding to you – if you’re not getting the response you’d expect, then think on your feet and change the way you’re projecting to them.

Be Congruent

There’s nothing worse than a liar, and people don’t enjoy being lied to. It’s not just your content that’s important, your body language and tone need to support that content. Otherwise people will think you’re lying to them. Find out during your rehearsals as to whether you are in congruence with your message and if not, change the message to something you can support wholeheartedly. A passionate, enthusiastic speaker always has half the battle won before he or she starts talking.

Keep it in Perspective

You can’t be all things to all men, and nor should you try. There will always be a section of any audience who simply doesn’t agree with you or even like you very much. That’s only a problem if you let it become one. As a simple rule the majority of your group will want you to succeed so play to their needs not the few who would love to see you fail.

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