A presentation is about your audience. Some speakers are too quick with the “I” word. Remember, it’s not about you. Throughout the presentation, your goal is to keep moving your audience to the desired action you want them to take.
In a previous post, we described the importance of preparation and audience analysis. In this article, we’ll discuss how you can take command of the room.
Use a “Grabber”
Think of your opening grabber as a headline that compels your audience to want to hear more. It stimulates their interest in you and your message. You want each person in the audience to feel that you are talking directly to her as if you were having a private conversation.
Eye contact is critical. Work the room and hold eye contact with someone until you’ve made your point. Then move on and make contact with someone else in a different section of the audience. If the lights are out and you can’t see the audience, act as if you can see them. Remember that every single person in your audience has an ego and needs to feel he matters. If you’re uncomfortable, or inexperienced in taking control of the room, then consider getting presentation training to sharpen your skills.
Pace yourself. Take an occasional sip of water if necessary to help you slow down. Use the periods after sentences as breathing points. You need these pauses to get through your presentation and the audience needs them to keep up with you.
Give Them a Roadmap
Your listeners will be grateful if you give them a roadmap to follow you to the finish line. People like structure.
During the presentation:
- State the subject of your presentation
- Tell them what you are going to prove, explain, or describe
- Make your stand on the topic clear
- Recap your key points in your conclusion
As you move through your presentation, expand on your central theme to help your audience understand the subject. Support your points with strong and appropriate examples to persuade your audience to abandon their individual beliefs and accept your point of view.
Get Them to Take Action
State clearly how the information you have presented will benefit them. Politely, but firmly, tell your audience what you want them to do.
Encourage your audience to act!
In our next post in this three-part series on presentations, we will discuss how to follow up after a presentation. Visit The Presentation Begins When You Book the Date to read our first post.