7 Tips & Techniques to Re-Engage your Audience
Speakers, you know how frustrating it can be after spending hours preparing a presentation only to have your audience tune out within 5 minutes. You know you’re losing them, but are not quite sure how to reel them back in. Over the years I’ve consulted books, resources and numerous experiments to figure out ways to keep my audience engaged. These are the tips and techniques I’ve learned to keep an audience engaged:
1. The first step to keeping your audience engaged is to notice they are no longer with you. Bored, expressionless faces, shifting in seats, several audience members leaving the room at once, are all signs that you need to make a change. Ignore these signs at your peril. There is something you can do.
2. According to John Medina, molecular biologist and author of Brain Rules, our brains love stimulation. Our attention span drops precipitously after 10 minutes in the same environment with no changing stimulus. In other words, change something about your presentation about every ten minutes or less.
3. What I noticed first in my teaching experience is that I could regain my student’s attention after 10 minutes of lecturing if I told a story that related to the content of my lecture. Their cell phones slipped back into their pockets, heads would rise off their desks, and they made eye contact again when I began to tell a story (it was like magic!). In particular, if your content is heavy with data, a story that relates to the data makes an emotional connection with your audience and will be more easily remembered.
4. Get your audience involved with movement: a show of hands, thumbs up or thumbs down, or show a scale from 1 – 10 with their fingers. Providing an opportunity for your audience to stand or stretch is another way to incorporate movement into your presentation, especially if it is lengthy.
5. Ask your audience a question and allow them to answer out loud. Depending on your venue and the context of your presentation, give prizes to the audience member with the correct answer.
6. Connect your audience members with one another by using a technique called a “pair and share”. Have audience members share what they have just heard with the person sitting next to them. This not only keeps your audience engaged, it reinforces the learning of the content you have just delivered.
7. Change your delivery method. Change the rate at which you speak, the pitch of your voice, your volume, use a long pause. Anything that provides contrast in your delivery will help to keep your audience attentive.
Every audience is different with respect to size, venue, and context in which they are receiving a presenter’s message. However, each audience is similar with the likelihood of becoming disengaged. Incorporating a change in your delivery at least every 10 minutes (or less) will result in a more satisfying experience for you and your audience.
Back to School Special Offer
Are you working on a presentation that you are delivering this fall? Need a little help with crafting your content, or with your rehearsals?
I have a special offer through the month of September:
- Two 45 minute live coaching sessions with me
- 3 months of rehearsal with a virtual reality audience that will provide you with feedback on your vocal delivery and eye contact for only $327.00