How To Be More Inclusive When Public Speaking and Presenting

We all know what it is like when a speaker or trainer talks about themselves and what they have achieved and predominantly use “I Statements”. It turns us off and we think, why do I care, or what is in it for me. Research has shown that audience inclusion is a powerful tool of influence, persuasion and of helping people to better recall what was said. If you are inclusive, then you are more likely to motivate people to greater action. Here are 6 strategies that you can use to be more inclusive and therefore more engaging and influential in your next presentation:

1. Use inclusive language
People generally attend seminars, training or workshops to learn something, to solve a problem or to achieve a goal. When we use inclusive language like “you can do this” and “together we can overcome this obstacle” and “your success is possible when you do this…”, people know it is about them. It is about them and for them and the whole presentation is directed to the audience for the audience benefit.

2. Tell show ask share 
I learnt this model from a great public speaker named Matt Church. The model is that every 10 minutes or so, do a cycle of telling them something; show them some visuals; ask them to think about it in their own circumstances or their own lives; share with the person next to you or share with the group. This is a great model for being inclusive and it helps people apply the information to their own situation.

3. Gamification
Gen Y’s and Gen X’s like to use technology. There are many apps that speakers and trainers can download to help audiences actively participate in the training or seminar. You can do a quick poll to see which topic is the most important to them. The results can be aggregated and displayed on your PowerPoint presentation in real time. You can test their knowledge towards the end of your presentation and issue a prize to whoever remembers the most. Using apps and gamification is a great way to include audiences.

4. Ask questions
By regularly asking inclusive questions during your presentation, you can show that the information is for the audience. For example – “what are you now going to do differently” – “how can you use this information in your business” – “what do you see as the biggest risk by using this technique” – “what has been most useful for you in todays seminar”. These questions make people think about themselves and internalise the information you are sharing.

5. Group work in pairs or at your table
Getting people to discuss key points and learnings at their table or in pairs once again makes the session about them. It includes them and helps them to leave with some valuable information. It helps other people have their say and share their experiences. Something new may come up, which you as the presenter can then deal with and provide your expert insights.

6. Do a quiz
Similar to gamification, but using manual methods such as a poll, a show of hands, or secret ballot on a piece of paper. They key is to use the information to shape your presentation and your content to meet the audiences need. Or to demonstrate a point. In my public speaking workshop, with 10 people in the room, I ask “who feels a little nervous standing in front of 100 people public speaking”. 9 or 10 out of 10 people put their hand up and I use this to reinforce that nerves around public speaking are normal and we are all in the same boat.

If you want to have greater impact, make your message more memorable and motivate people to a greater level of action, then be inclusive in your delivery and your content. Make it about your audience.

I am running presentation skills workshops in Perth on the 22nd of November and Brisbane on the on the 27 of November.

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