10 Ways to Connect with your audience

One of the most important parts of any presentation, whether in front of a live crowd or through a recorded video, is the engagement with the audience. There’s only so much time to capture their interest since the abilities to remain attentive have continued to decrease with the evolving capability to do more on mobile devices.

Whether in a small meeting room, large auditorium, or through a camera lens, you compete against things like with the wandering texting fingers wanting to send an email rather. Sometimes an event from the morning commute may weigh on the mind of someone in the audience, or they are preoccupied with some of the other errands to complete before the end of the day.

By failing to capture their attention, you risk missing potential partnerships with associates. However, by preparing and delivering an interesting speech, you will have more of a chance to land a connection to help you reach the next step.

Be authentic

Someone who thinks too much of their abilities can create a perception of arrogance, which can be a turn off for some members of the audience. The important thing is to share your accomplishments with a manner of humility.

Being successful doesn’t equal superiority. Nor does it allow you to claim qualities you don’t possess, so don’t act you are the greatest thing to happen in the world since combining peanut butter and chocolate.

Vulnerability

Someone who uses personal experiences to supplement their speech – be it from early childhood, a classroom experience, or during the early years of being an adult – can be understood and shows the audience you are human, which in turn makes you more relatable. People are more likely to understand where you are coming from.

One of the best things you can do bring an example of failing at something and the lessons learned from the experience. Something with a fallout builds trust because you seem more like them.

Slow down

When feeling stressed or anxious, you may find yourself speaking too quickly as the mind moving faster than your mouth can match. Remember to slow down your speech – if you think you are speaking in a perfect pace, slow down more because we sometimes perceive ourselves slower than we really are.

It’s important to enunciate all of your words to make sure your audience can understand. When you’re calm, you’re less likely to stumble and your words begin to blend in the wrong way.

Communicate clearly

Building off the importance of enunciation, words are only powerful if they’re understood. Another part of that is not speaking over people’s heads by showing off your ability to use fancy words and knowledge of your industry’s thesaurus.

Be sure to use only words and terms your audience knows. You are the expert, but not everyone in your audience will be. At the same time, some terms can be taught to your audience if it helps support the goals of your presentation.

Tell jokes sparingly

Laughter can be one of the best ways to get your audience to connect with you, but only when it’s appropriate. While showing a sense of humor, it’s important to keep a professional tone while not offending anyone specific. Not everyone can be as beloved as comedian Gabriel Iglesias.

Even though there may be a few laughs from the audience, more than likely you’ll be perceived as hurtful, unprofessional, and prejudiced. This isn’t a roast on television or a chance to earn a one-hour special filmed in front of a live crowd in New York City.

Overcome nervousness

It’s natural for a speaker to be anxious prior to standing in front of a group of potential clients, it can even be beneficial. But it can also send a message to your audience that you lack confidence of being an expert in your subject field.

Don’t let it affect you, but keep the stay on track with your message. That’s what they are really there to hear. It’s not about being perfect, since having imperfections helps the audience relate to you. By preparing in advance by rehearsing in front of a mirror, you can present with the necessary confidence.

Captivate people

Because attention spans are short, capturing them in the earliest moments of the presentation is vital to the success the rest of the way. Even if they don’t remember every bit of your speech, people often remember how you used stories to help illustrate the main points of your speech.

An interesting story can be relatable, but can support the lesson in a similar fashion to nursery rhymes. This step also runs in conjunction with being authentic and relatable to your audience.

Address problems

Another key to a presentation’s success is to point out a group’s challenges are and show ways of how you will accomplish your goals despite those roadblocks.

Handouts, supplemental information

These presentations are best used to capture attention, brainstorm ideas and catch the interest of the audience. But planning to exchange those ideas requires sharing information that can be taken with them – like a handout or report that can be supplemental to the message you were trying to teach.

The audience will then be able to review the information presented when they return to the office. Think about how teachers would hand out written packets for homework that complimented what was talked about in their lectures in the classroom.

Encourage interaction

One of the best courses of action is to lead a discussion amongst the audience rather than you just standing up there and talking the entire time. Allowing members of the audience to inquire can only help build discussion and the concepts taught by you.

Organize a group chat on what you talked about, which helps keep the audience active throughout the presentation and reduce boredom. It’s easier for the audience to learn if they can ask for ways to help better understand something that could clarify something that might have previously been confusing.

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