Do you have a presentation coming up? Not sure how to engage your audience during a speech? Do you want some easy public speaking tips to make sure you capture their attention?
If that sounds like you, then before you deliver that speech, go to that interview, try to sell your product or, only try to educate other people on your selected topic, please look at these easy to follow tips.
Here are the 5 tips on how to engage your audience in a presentation:
- Get to Know your Audience
- Research and Use Relevant Topics
- Use Effecting Ice-Breaking Techniques
- Make Your Presentation an Interactive Experience
- Tell Relatable and Inspiring Stories
Came here for the eBook? Please download our eBook on 6 Proven Tips to engage your audience, where I share these tips, plus some additional information and a cheatsheet you can use to always prepare stellar presentations. Here’s the link.
I will be updating this post with relevant links to other amazing posts that compliment this one and may equip you with awesome skills such as storytelling, effective body language, and how to keep the audience entertained. So, my advice..Download the eBook AFTER going through this original article.
5 Tips on How to Engage Your Audience in a Presentation
1. Get to Know your Audience
You might have heard it thousands of times before, but let me tell you it is THAT important. If you know your audience you can plan on your topic, dress code, avoid saying or doing something that might be offensive depending on the cultural background of the people listening to you.
I wish I could say “Just be yourself,” but that is not the best advice especially if being yourself drives people away from the very message you are trying to pass.
I am not saying try to impersonate your favorite actor/actress. The idea is to make sure you do not come off as insensitive or out of place.
Take some time before your presentation to learn about your audience, who they are, what are their expectations, their values, if possible their language (greeting them in their own language is a tremendous icebreaking technique), this will allow you to become a lot more than just the guy who came to speak about something.
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2. Relevant Topic Selection and Research
If you want people’s attention in listening to what you are saying, despite all the distractions available today, you better make sure that whatever you are about to present is uniquely enticing, backed by experience or extensive research. Otherwise, why should they give you their valuable time and attention?
In the digital world, blogging or news websites, you often will hear “Content is King.” Well, that is also a crucial point in the physical world. Moreover, the means and tools you use to deliver that content count as much.
Numbers, everyone likes to hear about numbers. If you do your due diligence, you should come up with some statistics on the topic (past cases, growth percentage, and trends for the future).
Give credit where credit is due. If you have used research data from some book, website or blog mention it, even if you have to reference your mentor’s teachings it is still a good thing to do. In case you are wondering, no it does not make you look weak or less knowledgeable.
In order to make the topic relatable, and interesting to your audience, here are some tips on how to make good research:
- Start with effective audience analysis, so that you know what will entice the audience.
- Use top-notch references and credible sources (interviewing experts, top libraries, studies from reputable institutions, etc.)
- Make your own studies and findings (your experience, polling people on Linkedin or other Social Media, testing, etc.)
3. Break the Ice – Get the public to pay attention to You
The Urban Dictionary’s top definitions for “breaking the ice” are:
- Attempt to escape from an awkward situation.
- Say something in a silent moment.
- Do something to win the appreciation of people you don’t know.
It is essential to try to get your audience to link with you from the beginning of your presentation, and as a good practice, you should have them redirected to your speech using this technique whenever you feel like their attention is misplaced.
Breaking the ice at the right moment coupled with excellent body language can allow you to command the stage and win your audience’s undivided attention.
For more on Body Language and how to use it to engage your audience in a presentation, please check out the following resources, surely they’ll provide much insight:
As I mentioned before, you can do something as simple as greeting your audience in their local language if you are overseas or, provided you have some knack for it, tell a good joke. We must all have a good one in our pocket, if not at least a good story that can relate to the topic at hand perhaps.
If you are using a slideshow to deliver your presentation and you are not confident in your jokes, you can search for some tricks, add them to your slideshow or material, and just read it.
Please remember to consider your audience’s values here, do not tell a joke about something that they are sensitive about (leader, family members, religious beliefs, and tradition).
4. Make it an Interactive Experience
One critical aspect of delivering public speeches, presenting slideshows, participating in an interview, or promoting a product is that it is not about you even and when you are talking about yourself it’s about the audience, so make sure you involve them.
There are multiple ways to involve your audience, let me list a few for your reference:
- Getting them to introduce themselves in the beginning (if you can manage) and assure them that it’s ok to interrupt with questions
- Answering their questions politely and asking if anyone else shares a similar concern (this goes a long way to show that you care)
- It would help if you also asked questions (not too complicated, you don’t want to embarrass anyone)
- Have some fun activities planned out
- Have a live demo of whatever you are presenting (we are visual creatures)
- Pause for a moment and look at them (this will make them look at you to see what’s happening)
- Play an exciting video and ask for comments, then summarize with your own
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There are many more ideas to have your audience engaged during your presentation, and we should explore as many of them as possible to ensure that today’s “distraction syndrome” does not block your message from coming across to your audience.
5. Tell Stories
A list of public speaking tips would not be reasonable if “Storytelling” was not one of the points in it. We have been telling and hearing stories for ages, and we love stories.
Being able to tell stories is an essential skill to have if you want to become a fantastic speaker or coach even to lead people. You can influence thousands, millions, even billions of people with stories; you can move masses, build up a profitable business, and also get respect and prestige by telling compelling stories.
Think about it: how many people watch TV shows, Movies (think the Avengers, or Gladiator, or any one of your favorite movies), Telenovelas, Japanese Anime, read romances, blogs, cartoons, Japanese manga, and many other media. All are means of telling a story, which has always been successful.
Compelling stories are capable of making you lose track of time, and when we find one we want more, we get sad when it ends, and sometimes we try to emulate whatever piece of wisdom we get from them.
What I am trying to say here is that your ability to tell stories, to choose the right one for your specific presentation, and to align it with your topic is a powerful asset.
You can tell the story of the person, product, and piece of technology, science fact, and curiosity you are sharing, or you can tell a story that can serve as a metaphor for your intended message.
Here’s a quick reminder for you to grab that eBook, and learn the tips that I have used and shared with others in the past, and they have proved to be quite effective if applied and practiced enough to make you a memorable speaker. You can also click on the image below, it will redirect you to the landing page.
How to Engage Your Audience Video
Please take some time to learn from Alex Lyon’s tips on Youtube. He shares 6 different tips on how to engage your audience during a speech or presentation. I am sure you’ll find them easy to follow and understand.
NEW PUBLIC SPEAKING BOOK LAUNCH!
Before we go into the final Remarks…
I would like to announce that you can get more insightful tips and how-to’s from our recently launched eBook, now available at Barnes & Noble, at $4.99. We tried to pack it with valuable information and price it below $5 to be as inclusive as possible with our pricing. Click below and Get a Copy!
- Do your best to know who you will be speaking to, their values, their expectations and if possible their language or the best means of communication. Using this strategy can make it easier for you to connect with them right away.
- Whether you know your audience or not, another critical aspect is knowing about the topic of discussion, do some research beforehand, and if you know your audience, then make the subject relevant to them.
- In cases where you do know your audience, or perhaps you notice that they are getting distracted in the middle of your speech using an ice break technique is the go-to Prepare some jokes, short stories, or live demonstrations they can do the trick.
- Command the stage, become more visible than the best of slideshows, but remember the whole process of speaking in public, presenting slideshows, or attending an interview is more about the audience than it is about you. Have them interact and engage with you as much as time and the content of discussion allows for it.
- The most incredible skill granted to humankind through speech is storytelling. That is my opinion obviously, but it is because it is one of the recurring practices from our ancestors up to this day and age, and it will probably continue to be so in the future. We want to be remembered. Therefore we tell stories – it is human nature.
These are the five tips on how to engage your audience in a presentation I wanted to share with you, to help you in preparing and ace your next presentation. Good luck and go Get them!
Please share your thoughts and comments below; I’d like to hear from you. What other tips you think are critical to helping you succeed in public speaking?
References and Further Reading
Hamilton Edu. Engaging Your Audience
Virtual Speech. 18 Ways to Make Your Presentation More Interactive.
Engaging Leader. 26 Ways to Engage Your Target Audience.
Post Updated 3 January 2021
First Published 22 September 2020