When you see yourself making your big presentation how do you imagine your audience?
Do you see the audience leaning forward, smiling faces and nodding with agreement? Or do you see them checked-out, checking their email and wishing to heck that they could be anywhere but listening to you? Or do you not think about them at all?
Hopefully you are imaging a sea of engaged listeners hanging on your every word. How do you make that vision a reality before, during and after your presentation?
To engage your audience remember these 4 simple ways to keep them NEAR during your next speech.
When you walk into the room, notice the emotional vibe. Tired? Engaged? Bored? Let yourself be open to experience of their emotions. Arrive early and chat with the audience members. It's a great gauge of how they are feeling
Additionally, the time of day you are speaking impacts energy. If you know that the group you are speaking to just ate lunch or has been listening to presentations all day, their energy is likely to be low. Match their energy and gradually bring their energy level up!
Go beyond making eye contact and examine the body language of the audience. Are they leaning forward? Great they are engaged! Are they falling asleep? Bad they aren’t getting your message! Are they on their smartphones? If you’re speaking to a social media crowd that is great news, they are tweeting your message. If you're not, they are bored with your message. Examine the crowd and adapt accordingly.
Keep the audience engaged by asking them questions. Get them involved. Plan a reflective activity where they can think about your question and share their responses with their neighbor.
If they look confused, ask them if they are with you. The best way to keep your presentation from going down in flames is to interact with your audience. Keep speaking like a conversation no matter how large the group.
After you finish speaking, ask your audience for feedback. It's the best way for you to improve as a speaker. Find out what the audience took away? Did it align with your goals for them? What did they love about your talk? What could you improve on?
Make that engaged audience a reality. Engagement starts before your speech and long after the last word drops from your mouth.
How do you keep your audience engaged during a presentation? Share your own experiences and tips below.