Some people love giving presentations. Others dread it. Regardless of your natural inclination, it’s important that you deliver your message in way that mesmerizes your audience. Let’s face it: There’s a reason you’re at the front of the room.
Whether you want more leads, a lucrative contract or a raving bunch of fans, you need to get and hold your audience’s attention. Rock stars often do this with outlandish outfits, an amazing voice or an impressive guitar solo. In the conference or boardroom, you’ll need another approach.
These five tips will help you deliver a presentation that leaves your audience wanting more.
- Quickly build rapport. Start by sharing a brief story about yourself that will connect you to your audience. Relaying the story about your morning commute or your child’s homework blunder demonstrates your authenticity, builds trust and helps your audience become comfortable with you.
- Address people by name. Including phrases such as, “Jill, I’m sure you’re going to appreciate this,” or “Tim, you’ll agree with me here,” helps turn your presentation into a dialogue or discussion rather than a self-promotional speech. This technique can be used even if you don’t know a single person in attendance. Simply scan the audience for nametags or introduce yourself to a few people prior to speaking.
- Solve a problem right away. Instead of droning on about your impressive qualifications, provide good, solid information immediately. Here’s what I do: After a quick introduction and an outline of what I’m going to cover (and what the audience will walk away with), I immediately start giving tips. Then, I encourage the audience to share real-life scenarios and issues that they are experiencing. Often with this approach, people are begging me for more information.Using this approach at conferences, you may find that you can’t get to every raised hand. You may even attract a crowd of people post-presentation who are tossing business cards your way.
- Be revealing. It’s okay to divulge a few secrets. People are busy. If they are gracious enough to spend some of their precious time with you, make sure it’s useful for them. A rock-star presentation isn’t about being polished or clever. It’s about delivering a satisfying experience.
- Prepare a handout. This serves several purposes. It delivers some of that credibility-building background information that you don’t want to waste time on during your presentation. It helps you share resources such as website links and book citations without sounding like a commercial. And it’s the perfect vehicle for a succinct call to action. Make it clear what you want your audience to do next and how to contact you.