In today’s time-starved, relationship-diminished world, audiences:
- Crave attention and connection with each other
- Want ready-to-use ideas
- AND still expect to be entertained.
These goals are often at odds when preparing a presentation that will make people rave about one’s program long afterwards. Consequently, successful presenters need gut instincts-based behavioral insights into how to grab and hold their audiences attention.
Here are a few:
1. Getting specific sooner. Since vivid, specific details prove the general conclusion, not the reverse (yet most educated adults are talking longer to get to the point, and are inclined to use generalities more than their literally-minded children who are full of great word pictures)
2. Honor and surprise some attendees by name. Be a hero to your audience by citing audience members by name as positive examples of the points you are making. How? Interview the meeting planner, sharing your main points and gathering examples she or he has heard or can discover that involve diverse people in the audience.
Then, just before speaking, as that meeting planner to point out the two or three people you are going to mention.
That way, as you are making your point, you can begin walking toward the person you want to praise, getting closer and closer to him or her as you share your example so you can be at that person’s side, smiling, shaking hands, even asking the audience to give that person some well-deserved recognition. (Applause, please.)
3. Avoid patterned clothing as it will cause attendees to go on even more “mental vacations” than they otherwise would.
4. Walk and talk. Your movements can evoke interest, reinforce the emotions of your stories, and punctuate a change of pace or topic.