Every event speaker, emcee or host is after the same thing: an engaged audience.
No one wants a boring meeting, and while standing ovations are nice, the main objective of the speaker is to deliver a message in a way that emotionally connects with the audience. To improve audience engagement at your event, the message (and its delivery) must resonate with your people.
At your events, do attendees actively participate or is their gaze glued to their devices?Speaker success can be gauged by surveying the audience’s mentality and level of participation. After all, it’s about their experience. When speakers read word-for-weighty-word off of slides or miss crucial cues, it’s no wonder attention spans have more ebb than flow.
Help your speakers avoid the disconnect between the event presentation’s main theme and supporting concepts. Offer the following presentation tips to speakers as compelling ways for your audience to envision the big picture:
The 3 P’s of a Powerful Event Presentation
Oftentimes, we fall into the habit of assuming a topic we’re passionate about automatically connects with our audience. During this phase of preparation, consider how the topic creates value for your listeners.
Will it captivate your audience or will they do all they can to keep from fidgeting in their seats? Combat any restlessness by imagining what you as a presenter would want to see and hear as an audience member. Look into making the presentation as interactive and participatory as necessary to transform your audience’s experience into something beneficial.
Finally, ask yourself if the resources you’re using to present and ultimately, your presentation style, are even relevant. Incorporate videos, images, audio and moments for audience interaction as you design the delivery. It’s time to push past PowerPoint and prepare to make an impact.
Dr. Jill Bolte-Taylor presented one of the most popular TED Talks ever back in 2008. According to Forbes Magazine, she rehearsed over 200 times before going live with an audience. In other words, practice your material often enough that it comes across naturally.
Also, a key takeaway from Dr. Bolte-Taylor is that she “rehearsed,” not “memorized” her content. It’s not always necessary to memorize words verbatim, but it’s imperative to know your key presentation concepts backwards and forwards.
As you rehearse, remember an authentic approach is key since you are essentially transparent to your audience during your presentation. They can see right past what isn’t genuine and what is forced.
The best way to make your presentation memorable is to encourage active participation. This might be met with apprehension, so settle your nerves by reminding yourself that it’s not about you, even though you’re the one on stage.
It’s about your audience and the value you want them to walk away with. The main focus of your presentation, besides, of course, the central topic, is how you can transform attendees into participants using key presentation tools.
Presentation Tools to Captivate Your Audience
Before the Event
There are several ways to interact with your audience before they even take their seats. Speakers often provide personal bios on mobile event apps to introduce themselves or outline the main idea. Audience members can also receive updates on the conference apps to notify them when and where the presentation is taking place.
Unique social hashtags at the event provide the perfect platform for the audience to post and follow questions. You can filter through for the most relevant posts on your topic and address them online or during the presentation itself. This way, you begin to build trust and intrigue prior to your appearance.
During the Event
Your big moment has arrived! Keep the momentum going during your presentation with the use of additional tech trends for events. Live tweet or live stream the content. Utilize social media to include your non-attendees too.
There are plenty of presentation do’s and don’ts to follow to engage your audience.
Shake things up with interactive questionnaires or polls to help engage and connect attendees through the mobile event app or their smart device. Don’t be shy about sharing the stage either – sometimes, other relevant speakers provide equally useful insights on your topic from a different perspective. Plus, your audience begins to trust you when they witness the rapport you have with someone else.
Reveal your authenticity to the audience through storytelling techniques. Pack a punch with your unique personality. The presenters at TEDxSTLWomen are an ideal example of this:
After the Event
Your interactions don’t end when the presentation does.
Continue the conversation on and offline with your audience. Send out a survey for feedback or a follow-up post to provide additional content – then, respond to the feedback! Remember, the success of your presentation is measured through significant audience participation. Your strength as a speaker is amplified the moment your impact becomes a movement.