Tips on how to engage your audience

Posted on 2013/10/16

A presenter must put a lot of effort into keeping an audience’s attention for longer than 15 minutes, because after this amount of time people start losing interest. Many people start to use mobile phones, draw something in their notes, or simply lose themselves in thought.

There are certain things that can be done to help keep an audience interested in your presentation without resorting to compulsion or magic tricks. We will not talk about the things that every speaker must know: to prepare a fluent speech, to keep eye contact, to have an active tone, etc. This time, we want to share things that perhaps you forget to do or that you have never thought of before:

1. Share personal experiences - there are no better speeches than those that take you through personal experiences. Tell all the aspects you are trying to tell through your own personality. This helps the audience to be more interested in you. Furthermore, the information you are trying to share will feel more relevant to them.

2. Questions for audience – this is another thing you need to be aware. They say that eighty five percent of the questions that you ask will be remembered. Now that really is a lot! Compare this stat with how many people remember something from your presentation, which is less than thirty percent. So let an audience remember you.  Use questions, but do not forget that compulsion should not be used. The questions that you ask should be prepared in advance. The best way to keep and get back attention if you have lost it is to give the audience the possibility of choosing what you should talk about. What are the audience interested in more? You could achieve deeper insight with the help of the audience. The audience loves to be heard, even if they are only listeners. Yes you can use for it IQ Polls.

3. Storytelling – an old but true fact, once you use a story people engage more with your talk. Telling a story helps the audience better understand your point of view, and it helps them to remember and associate your speech with a story they have heard.

4. Try to use three aspects – the magic number three, which people remember. If you want to try and make people remember facts or important information try to make a list of three. For example, plan, act, supervise or think, do, fix. When you use list more than three things, the audience will lose important facts or information; it's programed in our brains.

5. Activities - one more important thing. The fact is that if people are sitting too long their brains start to be passive. So you need to involve the audience in activities. Yes you can use questions for the audience - we described this in the second point. You could also move from one point of the stage to another, which would make the audience’s eyes follow you and help their brains be active. Activities also include things that use colour, such as pictures or key words.

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