If you’re like most people, you want to make a connection with the person you’re talking to. As a presenter, the way to get that connection is to build it into your presentation during your planning/writing stage. If you’re roasting a chicken and you want it to be well seasoned, you’d add spices before putting it in the oven.
Think of CONNECTION as the SEASONING you add to your presentation early in the preparation process. To create a presentation that keeps your audience focused on your message, from beginning to end, you need to build four ingredients into your presentation during the planning process:
1. CONVERSATION. To have a conversation, information has to flow in two directions. That means you need to ask your audience questions. As you prepare your message, look for ways to turn statements into questions that will generate a response from your audience. You could say, “Goldfish have an attention span of nine seconds.” But a more interactive approach would be to ask your audience, “How long is the attention span of a goldfish?” Someone will yell out an answer.
2. EXPERIENCE. To create a memorable experience, tell a story, make an analogy or use visuals. Slides, stories, analogies, activities, pictures and props turn a speech into a memorable experience. They engage your audience in an unforgettable way.
3. THINK. Ask thought-provoking questions like, “Have you ever…?” or “Imagine you were…” to make your audience think about how they can use your message. This makes your audience think about using your message, instead of just listening to it.
4. APPLICATION. Give your audience a call to action. Ask them to take a specific action to implement your message. To apply my message, here’s your homework: “For your next presentation, look for ways to encourage conversation. Ask questions that get your audience engaged in a two-way dialog.”
If you do your homework and it works, post your results on the Better Speaking Skills Facebook page. For more ways to spice up your next presentation, go to my Facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/BetterSpeakingSkills/)