Let’s think about this another way – what keeps you listening and engaged in a presentation?
Take the content, i.e what and why the presenter is saying what they are saying:
Is the content:
- Something that interests you?
- Is it relevant?
- Is it helpful and beneficial and worth listening to?
- Is it clear?
- Is it something that answers a question?
- Something that raises a question?
- Something that adds to what you know or think?
- Something that challenges what you know and what you think?
- Something funny?
- Something different?
- Something that touches your emotions?
- Something that resonates with your experience and beliefs?
- Something that transports you to another place, time or perspectives?
And what about the way that the speaker delivers?
- Does it make you laugh?
- Make you cry?
- Feel good?
- Feel challenged?
- Is the voice varied with modulation?
- Easy to listen to?
- Does the way the speaker move help you understand and keep you listening?
And what about the structure?
- Does it make sense?
- Is it logical?
- Is it well signposted so you can keep track and you can feel confident that the speaker knows what they are doing?
- Is it concise – takes just the right amount of time, not too long, not too short!
And above all, what happens after the speaker has finished?
- Can you still remember the gist?
- Could you tell someone else about what you heard?
- Will it influence your thoughts or behaviours afterwards?
If you want to know how to engage the listeners, then you need to think like a listener…
- Make your content clear and focused on what they need to hear (not what you want to tell them)
- Structure your presentation so that it is well sequenced and easy to follow
- Deliver your presentation with the purposeful use of voice and body language.
PS – these questions are great if you want to ask someone to critique your presentation and give you valuable feedback. Or you could ask me to support you too! You know where to find me