Add (silent) dialogue to your presentation.
How many times did you doze off, while a presenter was reading his slides? If people are talked at and don’t feel engaged, their attention span is proportionally short. The solution is to grab and hold your public’s attention by adding (silent) dialogue. This is especially difficult to achieve if your audience is large. One of the biggest compliments anyone can pay you is: your presentation felt like a conversation!
So, if you want to engage your listeners, you need to add dialogue. Here’s how.
- Structure your presentation. In conversation we tend to make a point and then prove it. So build your presentation around key points and show evidence to support them.
- Pause after stating an idea. This gets the mental dialogue of your audience going. Give them time to think, look at them for feedback and repeat your point if necessary.
- Ask rhetorical questions. It’s simple and effective. It’s very difficult not to think about an answer when you are asked a question. Don’t you agree? (I just did it!)
- Sit down while presenting. Of course this is not always possible, but try it. It makes the presentation much more conversational and natural.
- Be yourself. This last point seems easy, but proves to be hard for many presenters. Be yourself and converse with your audience.
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