I was working with a private client this week and was delighted that she had done some research before we met: she had asked her three young sons (10, 8 and 5) what they most enjoyed about a good presentation (in their limited school experience)
Son #1 said he thought it was great if someone was naughty or made a joke in assembly which made everyone laugh(!), Son #2 said he liked it when it was an interesting story and quoted the man who had told them all about how Velcro was invented and Son #3 said he liked it when someone was asked to get up from the audience and join in some way.
Interestingly, these three boys have hit upon the three ways we all like to listen and the three ways speakers can ensure that they engage their audience.
I am not suggesting that we always encourage heckling (#1) but certainly think about how you can get the audience involved through humour, through rapport with yourself and a sense of group involvement. Referring to them as a group with something in common, making common references to demonstrate you understand the audience, indeed are one of the audience ,works well here.
I have often written about the power of using stories and #2 method of engaging audiences is to use these again and again and again. In examples, comparisons, personal stories, cultural stories or references. Everyone loves a well-crafted and powerfully delivered story (note crafted and powerfully delivered are essential qualities for stories to work)
And finally, consider how you can get your audiences physically involved in your presentations #3. You might not get someone up to the stage with you (although why not?) but you could ask the members of your audiences to put their hands up, to write something down, to turn to a neighbour…
What are your favourite types of presentations? Do write and let me know…
If you would like Catherine to suport you and your presentation then feel free to contact her.
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