What’s the difference between a drab, monotonous lecture and a dynamic presentation that interests and awes the audience? Whether you’re delivering a speech, organising a workshop, presenting a new product idea, or hosting a virtual class, the answer remains the same – interaction.
When you are speaking, the goal is to connect with your audience on a personal way so your message resonates with them. This doesn’t necessarily mean you need to forcefully involve them by asking them questions constantly or engage in aggressive verbal battles. What it does mean, however, is that you need to build a rapport with them.
While the content of your presentation and the way you speak is a strong factor in building up rapport, a good part comes from the less obvious but quite evident nonverbal cues.
Here are the different ways you can engage with the audience and give a powerful presentation:
Start off with a bang
Begin your presentation with an interesting introduction – a shocking fact, a quote, a powerful pic or statistics. Introductions prepare the audience not only for your topic, but also warm you up for your monologue. It is useful to view your introduction as a snippet of what the audience can expect from the rest of your presentation. First impressions are powerful, so make the most of yours.
Speak to just ‘one’ person
While speaking to a group, it is easy to get disoriented looking at so many people. So just imagine you are speaking to only one person at a time. Dynamic presenters have this incredible way of making each listener feel spoken to directly.
Make and maintain eye contact throughout
This is the most basic advice you will hear from any communications trainer for public speaking. You need to maintain eye contact with people. You connect more directly with the audience and keep them engaged in your presentation. If you look away, it will give the impression you are yourself not interested in giving the speech.
Control the rate of your speech
If you speak too quickly or way too slowly, people might think that you are either too nervous and want to get over with it quickly or you are too boring and dull to interest the users enough. Maintain a steady pace of your speech. Find a middle ground where your natural personality expresses itself with ease.
Make use of strategic pauses
Using pauses from time to time in your speech can make a point more dramatic and interesting to listen to, and as a result, more memorable. It also provides the audience with the opportunity to absorb the points you are making and reflect on them.
It is about them, not you!
Don’t just convey information or state facts like they are a formality. If it’s an informative speech, couch this information in the form of a benefit. You need to stress on your audience what you’re speaking would make a positive difference in their life.
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