We have all experienced a presentation that was boring and was slowly putting us to sleep. The speaker was so focused on their content and their script that they forgot that they were speaking to a live audience.
Have you ever been that speaker? Have you ever struggled to engage your audience and keep them awake and interested in what you are saying? If so, here are 7 tips that you can use to keep your audience engaged and reduce the risk of you being seen as a boring presenter.
- Don’t read from your script
Reading from a prepared script word for word is a sure fire way of putting your audience to sleep. Rather than read from your full script, do your preparation, know your content and either use a mind map, or a one-page outline or use a page with headings and bullet points to guide you through your presentation. This will help you achieve more of a conversational speaking style.
- Don’t read from your PowerPoint slides
We have all heard of death by PowerPoint where the speaker reads from their slides, word for word, as if it is their teleprompter. Reading from your PowerPoint slides just shows that you are under-prepared. Your PowerPoint slides should be more of a visual aid than just words and a script. Your PowerPoint should enhance what you are saying – not replace what you are saying.
- Involve the audience
Rather than just speak at the audience, or lecture to them, you should try and Involve the audience. Get them doing stuff and get them thinking. I use a little Model described to me by Matt Church. Use a cycle of; TELL – SHOW – ASK – SHARE . So tell your audience something, show them a visual ( slide, flip chart, prop) ask them to think about how that might apply to their situations, get them to share with the group or the person next to them. If you run this cycle every 10 to 15 minutes within your presentation you will keep people engaged, thinking, and applying the information to their own personal circumstances.
4. Be passionate and excited about your topic.
Passion is everything in a presentation. You need to show that you believe in what you are saying. You must be congruent with your message and you need to want to be before your audience. Passion is the best way to demonstrate that you believe in your message. Steve Jobs always said – “What makes your heart sing”.
- Use your stories to engage the audience
Tell a story that illustrates your point effectively and takes your audience on an emotional roller coaster and you will never be boring. More and more literature is surfacing on the importance of storytelling in public speaking and the role it has in engaging your audience. There is that famous saying, “people will not remember much of what you have said, but they will remember how you made them feel”. So tell powerful, relevant and engaging stories, take your audience on an emotional journey and you will be remembered.
- Use appropriate and congruent body language
Simply put you need to “Walk the Talk”. Your body language and your non verbal’s speak louder than the words you say. One way to always lose me and put me to sleep is when a good message is not backed up with appropriate body language.
- Show the audience that you care about them
As a speaker if you clearly demonstrate that your presentation is about the audience, for the audience, designed to help the audience, then you are less likely to be seen as boring. The term we use in public speaking is WiiFM – “What’s In It For Me”? If you demonstrate a clear WiiFM then you will be engaging and keep your audiences attention.
The next time you undertake a public speaking assignment, what are you going to do to ensure you are not seen as boring and that you engage audience.
If you would like more information on this article there is a 30 minute webinar recording that expands on the content.