Presentations can be nerve-wracking, especially if there’s a lot riding on them – a product launch or a press conference, for example. So here are half a dozen ways to engage your audience and hold their attention all the way through.
1. Start with enthusiasm
If you’re not passionate about your subject, why should anyone else be? So from the word go, show enthusiasm, and that will help build engagement in your audience.
2. Never use bullet points
Bullet points are for internal memos or your notes – they’re not for sharing. As soon as your audience sees a bullet point, they switch off. As Forbes magazine points out, no Apple leader ever gets up to give one of their famous keynote speeches and puts up a slide with bullet points.
3. Stay on message
Know what your overriding theme is and stick to it. Introduce it, elaborate it, sum it up. That way, you’ll show the audience that you’re focused. It’s fine to tell the odd story provided it’s relevant, you return to the main point promptly and the whole presentation doesn’t collapse into a series of anecdotes.
4. Know your subject
Even if your presentation doesn’t formally include a question and answer session, someone may ask a question – so be sure you’re fully briefed. If you can’t answer a question and your audience realises you are simply parroting what’s on screen, you won’t be able to keep them engaged.
5. Keep it short
Everyone knows that shorter presentations have more impact – yet a remarkable number of presenters forget this as soon as they’re on the podium. An events agency in Dublin, http://davisevents.ie/, will be a good source of advice on this. If your presentation is part of a wider event such as a product launch, they’ll be able to suggest a suitable structure and give timings for each part of the event. Stand up and rehearse the whole presentation and see how long it takes – then edit it down ruthlessly if it overruns.
6. Make it simple
People are turned off by technical jargon and by complicated sentence structures. Both of these are an invitation to people to start thinking about something else and stop listening to what you have to say.