Tag: Audience

 
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The Art of Engagement – A Peer Reviewed Presentation a the GeoConvention May 9, 2018

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5 Ways to Liven Your Audience

Has a boring speaker ever put you to sleep? Your head begins to nod as you fight off the urge to slip mercifully into the Land of the Z’s. Or has your mind ever wandered during someone’s dull presentation? Although you appear to listen intently, what you are really thinking about are the million tasks waiting for you at home.

Sure, this has happened to all of us, more than we would like to admit. However, don’t let it happen to you when you are the speaker. The key to keeping your audience from taking a mental exit is to involve them in your talk. Yes! Studies show that the more you involve your audience, the more they retain. Why? Because they are listening!

You can involve your audience in several ways, and I have listed 5 of my favorites below. Select those that will work well with your presentation and that feel genuine to you. If it feels uncomfortable, it will look uncomfortableóso don’t use it.

1. Ask questions.
Questions will cause your audience members to try to think of an answer. They can’t help it ñ it is simply how our brains are wired. If the energy in the room starts to drop, ask a question and select a member of your audience to respond. Then, thank him or her for participating and move on to the next person. Don’t worry about loosing control of your audience. Sales guru Brian Tracy emphasizes, ìHe (she) who asks questions is in control.î I personally prefer questions like ìHow many of you . . .,î and then I ask for a show of hands. These closed-ended questions get your audience involved both mentally and physically.

2. Finish your sentence.
For example, if you said to your audience, ìLions and tigers and bears . . .î and did not finish the sentence, what do you think they would say? As long as they are familiar with the movie The Wizard of Oz, they would respond with ìOh my!î This is a fun way to get your audience to participate. If they know the answer, they will blurt it out. If they don’t, you answer it. Choose something that should be so obvious they will absolutely get it.

3. High-five.
This is one of my personal favorites, and if you have attended one of my talks you have experienced it firsthand. If you ever feel like the energy in the room is heavy, you can change it by using this technique. Simply ask a question (remember the power of asking questions). Ask, ìIs this good stuff?î When your audience responds with ìYes,î say ìThen, turn to the people on either side of you and give them a high-five and say ëThis is good stuff!’î Most people get a kick out of it. However, if you have an individual in your audience who does not want to participate, don’t worry about it. Some people simply just don’t want to have fun.

4. Do exercises.
I learned this trick from the famous millionaire T. Harv Ecker when I took his ìTrain the Trainer course. He says, ìGet your audience to do the work.î To accomplish this, ask them to break into groups of two or three (with people that they don’t know) and give them an exercise that is congruent with your presentation. Afterward, ask them to share openly with the rest of the group and thank them for doing so.

5. Give them candy.
Reward your audience for participating, and they will participate even more. Simply ask a question and when someone answers it, gently throw a small piece of candy to that person. I find that chocolate works best. You will find that it becomes a game and people will compete for the chocolate. I don’t use this throughout my entire speech, only for a few minutes in the middle of my talk.

There are many other ways and techniques to get your audience involved. What is important as a speaker is for you to come up with as many different ways as you can think of that are appropriate for your audience and for you as a speaker. Believe me, your audience will thank you.

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Better Public Speaking

Presentations and public speaking, although daunting, can be a very enjoyable, rewarding experience, once adequate time is taken to prepare and rehearse them. An enthusiastic speaker who is confident with their material will make a lasting memorable impression on their audience.

Think of the last really memorable talk or presentation that you attended. Now, was that easy to do, or did you really have to rack your brains to remember one? Sadly, too many presentations are easy to forget. And that’s a big problem because the only reason the presenter gave the talk was to communicate something to you.

However, there are four basic things that you can do to ensure that your verbal messages are understood – and remembered – time and time again.

Although somewhat obvious and deceptively simple, these are:

Understand the purpose of the presentation
Keep the message clear and concise
Be prepared
Be vivid when delivering the message

Understand what you want to achieve:

Before you start working on your talk or presentation, it’s essential that you really understand what you want to say, who you want to tell and why they might want to listen. To do this, ask yourself: Who? What? How? When? Where? Why?

Who are you speaking to? What are their interests, beliefs and values? What do they share in common with others; how are they unique?

What message do you wish to convey? One way of answering this question is to ask yourself about the ësuccess criteria’. How do you know if and when you have successfully communicated what you have in mind?

How can you best put across your message? Language is most important here, as are non verbal cues such as body language and expressions. Choose your words and non verbal cues while keeping your audience in mind. Plan a beginning, middle and end. If time and place allow, consider and prepare audio-visual aids.

When? Timing is important here. Develop a sense of timing, so that your contributions are seen and heard as relevant to the issue or matter at hand. There is a time to speak and a time to be silent.

Where? What is the physical context of the communication in mind? You may have time to visit the venue, for example, and rearrange the furniture. Check for availability and visibility if you are using audio or visual aids.

Why? In order to convert hearers into listeners, you need to know why they should listen to you ñ and tell them if necessary.

The Importance of Simplicity:

When it comes to wording your message, less is more. You’re giving your audience headlines, too much information will overload and bore your listeners.. They are not expecting to become experts on the subject as a result of hearing your presentation, therefore simplicity is best.

If you’re using slides, limit the content of each one to a few bullet points, a single statement or a very simple diagram.

Preparation:

Failing to prepare is preparing to fail. In fact, it is the most important factor in determining your communication successes. When possible, set meeting times and speaking and presentation times well in advance, thus allowing yourself the time you need to prepare your communications. Each minute of a presentation deserves thirty minutes preparation.

Of course, not all communications can be scheduled. In this case, preparation may mean having a good, thorough understanding of the office goings-on, enabling you to communicate with the knowledge you need to be effective, both through verbal and written communications

Successful Delivery:

The manner in which you deliver your speech or presentation has a lasting impact on your audience. Again, preparation is paramount here, in order to hold the listeners attention. Some useful tips for keeping your presentation vivid include:

Use examples to bring your points to life
Keep your body language up-beat – don’t stay stuck behind a rostrum
Don’t talk to fast. Less is more here too. Pauses are effective.
Use a variety of tones of voice
Use visual aids.

Presentations and public speaking, although daunting, can be a very enjoyable, rewarding experience, once adequate time is taken to prepare and rehearse them. An enthusiastic speaker who is confident with their material will make a lasting memorable impression on their audience.

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