After delivering facilitator training courses for over 22 years now, we know how important and crucial it is to keep your audience engaged in order for your meeting to be successful. Below are practical tips to accomplish this.
Start at the End
Tell your audience from the onset what they will get out of your presentation. This gives them something to look forward to and also helps keep them focused on the point of your presentation.
Use Silence as a Tool
Use Different Techniques
Lecturing for one straight hour will almost surely bore your listeners to distraction. Use slides, pass around questionnaires, engage in role playing when possible, etc. You will engage your audience better and hold their attention longer by using a variety of presentation techniques.
Surprise Your Audience
Break out in a song, perform a simple magic trick, or juggle if you know how. Doing something completely unexpected will immediately catch your audience’s attention. Just remember to tie in what you did to the rest of your presentation or it will merely look like a cheap ploy for their attention.
Make Your Point Visually
Go beyond slides and PowerPoint presentations. Whenever practical and possible, use actual objects as props. It will help get your point across more dramatically.
Everyone enjoys a good laugh. Use humor to demonstrate a point, to reinforce your message or simply to break up a long talk. Laughing releases feel-good hormones (endorphins) that will make your audience more ready and willing to listen to your presentation.
Reinforce the Benefits of Your Message
Your audience will be more disposed to your message if they know how it will benefit them either in their professional or personal lives. Make sure you state this clearly and often throughout your presentation.
Tell a Good Story
Whether it’s a personal one or something that happened to someone else, engage the attention of your audience from the beginning by telling a good story. Make sure the story is relevant to your presentation. Returning to it at the end of your talk is an excellent way to end your presentation. It will also give your audience a sense of closure and completeness.
Even if you have an exciting message to tell, doing so rooted to one spot will not do justice to your presentation. Go to your audience or move around the stage as you make your presentation. You don’t have to be a whirling dervish, but you also don’t have to be unmoving as a post.
Make Eye Contact
Avoid looking at the slides you’re presenting or reading from your notes (an occasional glance or two is acceptable). Instead, engage your audience by maintaining eye contact with them throughout your presentation.
Whether you are looking for a strategic planning facilitator or need assistance with meeting facilitation, we can help. We offer both onsite and online facilitation training courses. If you want to explore this exciting field as a career option, our professional facilitator training course is an excellent place to begin.
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