Settle yourself down. Get your pen and notepad out. Check who else is in the room. Check your phone. Chat to the person next to you. Check your phone again. Now you are sitting, start to think of all the things you need to do after the presentation. Check your phone again. And then check once more to see if it is switched onto silent mode?
At the same time, the speaker is perhaps thinking (naively) that the all the audience is doing is sitting ready and waiting and prepared to listen…
In fact, did you know that most people when they sit down for a presentation go into a trance? Slightly starey-eyed (especially if there is a screen to watch), shoulders slumped, breathing slower…after all, we’ve heard the familiar ways of opening a presentation, the half hearted greeting, name and company labels etc.
So our job as a speaker is not just to craft and deliver our content in a professional and clear way: we also need to be Trance-Breakers. We need to be able to grab the attention of the listeners from the get-go and keep it :otherwise all that marvelous content will fall on deaf ears.
So, how do we do that…?
Well I’m not suggesting you get naked (that was a gratuitous use of a title to…well, grab your attention). But here are three things you can do immediately to break the trance and draw the listeners in:
- Have a Hook. Make the first thing you say something that engages the audience – a question, a story, a statistic (interesting/controversial/unusual), a statement. BEFORE you say your name or company
- Get yourself into the right state for your presentation so that your body sends out lots of non verbal signals to the audience that you are ready, that this is going to be worth listening to, that you have expectations that they will listen. How you stand, where you put your hands, the eye contact you make and maintain, your smile and your posture will influence the audience’s mood and readiness much more that you might believe.
- Make your opening sentence/paragraph/section be about the audience experience, not yours. If you talk about your company, your product, your recommendation first, people may well understand and take it on board – in the head. If you talk about their experiences, their situations and from their perspective, then they will understand and take it on board – in their hearts.
And then there is the delivery…but that’s for another blog. If you know that you want to be more dynamic when you speak, then check out this workshop running on February 3rd, 2016 in Cheshire. You’ll learn these techniques and much much more about developing a personal, energized delivery style.