A successful presentation can inform, inspire, and make a lasting impact. Unfortunately, the vast majority of public speakers are instantly forgotten because their audience never felt any kind of connection with them. Without that connection, audience members don’t just forget you, they forget your message as well.
What’s the point of speaking in public if no one will remember you or anything you said? To connect with audience members, speakers need to approach a talk or presentation in a certain way. It’s not enough to stand up and read from a piece of paper. Let’s examine how to connect with an audience and some of the tricks the masters use to leave lasting impressions on their audiences.
The average person has never been busier. Studies have shown that the average young person possesses the attention span of a goldfish.
Modern audiences lack patience, and it doesn’t take long for people to tune out or lose interest. Although they may be polite enough not to fall asleep or leave, a presentation can’t achieve what the speaker wants without an authentic audience connection.
Learning the tricks of the trade-in speaking to an audience will ultimately lead to better outcomes when speaking publicly and a more memorable experience for your audience.
Figuring out how to interact with audiences in presentation settings will not only make you a better public speaker but better at generating a successful outcome.
Whether you’re looking to improve morale in the office or generate leads at the next big sales conference, there are several proven strategies for connecting with your audience.
Knowing how to read the room is crucial if you want to connect with audience members. Nervous public speakers tend to focus exclusively on themselves and their slides. Self-focus can be good, but you need to read the room.
Are people dozing off? Do they disagree with what you’re saying? Barreling on without so much as acknowledging your audience means losing your audience connection completely.
This doesn’t mean you need to change your presentation. A simple statement like, “I see some people disagree with that…” can encourage the audience to focus and make them feel seen.
When speaking to an audience, many public speakers like to pick a spot at the back of the room to stare at. While this can steady frazzled nerves, it doesn’t help you connect with your audience.
They say the eyes are the window to the soul, so make eye contact with audience members every so often. Not only does it project confidence, but it also fosters a temporary connection between you and the person you make eye contact with. This makes your audience feel connected to you without much effort on your part.
Sometimes the only way to become a better public speaker is to look to those who came before you. While some guides may suggest looking up historical figures and studying their techniques, audiences have changed.
What worked for Teddy Roosevelt will not necessarily work for your audience today because times (and people) have changed.
Instead, consider looking up recent TED talks. Search for the most popular ones and watch the speakers. How do they connect with audience members?
Figuring out how to connect with an audience may involve examining your own presentation. Sometimes, even the most exciting speaker in the world can lose their audience connection because the content of their presentation simply isn’t attention grabbing enough.
A simple tip is to make your presentation relevant to people’s lives. Avoid too much dry theory and talk about real-world impacts.
Here are some bonus tips for making your content more engaging:
Overall, people are looking to connect with you, not the presentation itself. Get closer to your audience by refining the content of your talk and making it relevant to real people.
The language you use to connect with your audience will determine whether your audience responds.
While complex language may make you sound intelligent and build your authority, the average person doesn’t respond to that. If attendees need to think about the meaning of a word, they’re already disengaged.
Speak in a conversational tone. Be direct with language and avoid vague references.
Slides are useful supplements for any presentation, but inexperienced speakers tend to use them as a crutch. The bulk of a public talk should not consist of reading words from a slide. This is boring, and, quite frankly, why would the audience need you when they can read the slides themselves?
Use slides sparingly and only when you need to illustrate an important point or image. A well-placed graph or chart can further enhance that audience connection, but be sure not to overdo it.
Learning to connect with audience members isn’t a skill that can be learned overnight. It takes time, effort, and experience.
The power of a good presentation cannot be underestimated. Having engaging, compelling content that listeners can learn from is vital.
As one of the top-rated destination management companies, SmartWorks excels at creating a one-of-a-kind experience for event attendees. Contact us today to learn how we can take your event to the next level.