When it comes to speaking to groups, large or small, there is no doubt that it can be challenging to keep everyone engaged. You may begin your presentation on a good note only to find your audience falling away as time ticks away. This is typically due to a lack of engagement. As a public speaking coach here in Charlotte, NC I am constantly asked how to better engage an audience. On that note, here are seven tips for engaging your audience.
Demonstration – By demonstrating whatever you are teaching or speaking about, you will find the audience much more receptive. A stage magician is a perfect example of this skill. By having an audience member participate directly you will find the others much more receptive.
Redirect questions – If you stop and answer every question, then you will find yourself quickly running short on time. Instead, redirect questions to the audience. This will do two things – make the audience stop and think and make them feel as if you are interested in what they know as well.
Rhetorical questions are a must – By asking deep questions without expecting an answer you will see your audience actually stop and think about the topic.
Role play – Whether you interact with an audience member or have two members interact together role playing can help by demonstrating skills or techniques that you may be teaching.
Use examples – Rather than using your own you should ask examples from your audience. Typically there will be audience members who have gone through an experience which they will be able to relate to others. This is an excellent way to demonstrate your point through the example of others.
Use targeted brainstorming – Standard brainstorming can have a way of getting out of hand. Properly developed though it can help to focus your audience on the point you are addressing. By having the audience do brainstorm ahead of time you can help everyone stay focused.
Acknowledge participation – A group that feels as if their input is valued will be more easily engaged. Just as children love the positive attention of parents and teachers, adults look to feel as if they are an important part of a group.
By incorporating the previous tips into your repertoire you will find it much easier to keep your audience engaged. This can make all the difference between a winning presentation and one that quickly loses focus and followers.
For more information on how you can engage your audience please feel free to contact me now.