Engage: Stop Listening and Start Doing

Chinese Proverbs 2

Imagine you’re in a room filled with about 800 people. You’re cornered behind a podium; your voice will not stop shaking; and your lunch is stuck in your throat. It’s presentation day – mankind’s invention designed to make you feel like a scared little girl, or an opportunity to unleash your inner superstar.  So what’s the turning point in making you a presentation champion?

Try a few of these tips:

1. Step out of your comfort zone… literally. 

Get away from the podium. Physically break the barrier between the audience and the stage. Step into aisles or walk between rows, whatever it takes to get your audience engaged. The audience needs to know you’re here to talk and not to lecture, so placing yourself in the audience is a great way to grab their attention and keep them interested.

2. Get personal.

Nobody wants to feel like they’re being talked at, and everybody wants to feel special. So make them feel special. Talk to an audience member one-on-one while you’re presenting. Relate to them. Ask them questions such as: have you ever run into this problem? How do you feel about this? What are your thoughts about that? Not only does engaging with the audience keep them on their feet, but it also shows them you care about their thoughts and opinions. React to what they have to say and make that a part of your presentation.  This leads us into the last tip.

3. Do not script it.

As an audience, they can tell. Just going through the words makes the audience yawn and tune out. Before you present, bullet point your ideas. Set up a basic structure and outline for what you’re going to say, but don’t memorize it word for word. Know every aspect of your material in case there’s questions or answers at the end, but do it in a non-scripted way. Play off the feelings and thoughts that pop into your mind as you go through your outline. Let your emotions show through what you’re saying.

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