No matter what your level of expertise as a speaker or presenter, if you follow 5 easy steps when addressing an audience as an expert, it will go a long way towards showcasing your expertise, engaging your audience, and guaranteeing a positive return on your time.
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Don’t sell yourself short and, remember, as you prepare your next presentation, think about using these 5 simple tips as a guideline!
Step 1- Know your Audience
It’s important to know to whom you are speaking. If you’re able, communicate with the event planner and find out who will be in the audience, what professions will be represented, and what corporate/employee/guest level will be attending.
Ask yourself, “Is the person in the front row at the same experience level as I am, or are they hearing my material for the first time?” How are you going to be sure that you don’t talk over the heads of some, and yet be challenging to those who are more familiar with your area of expertise? To assume that everyone is on the same page is a big mistake. You must meet them on their level and prepare your presentation for the differences. Start at the beginning, hook them in with interest in your subject, then sustain their interest throughout and stimulate them to think.
Step 2-Connect With Each and Every Person
Get personal with your audience. Engage them and invest in their emotions interactively. Show them that you care. You can be at the top in your field, spout off statistics and data from the tip of your tongue, but if you can’t connect with them on a human level, you’ve lost their interest and have pushed them away. Bring them into you, be believable and speak from the heart. If you can convince them that even though you may be recognized nationally, that you may be the top player in your game, you are still one of them. Never forget where you came from. If you’ve prepared a boring power point, and rely on it to present your information instead, expect to see a lot of eyes glazed over. Excite them with your presence, be likeable.
Step 3 – R.E.S.P.E.C.T.
We all have bad days, you’re tired from traveling, or your accommodations are not up to your standards; don’t take it out on your audience. Perhaps you are including a sales pitch in your presentation but you find that many are unsure about acting on it. You must refrain from being critical or judgmental and use a more gentle tactic. If you disrespect your audience, they will give it right back to you. Do not demean them because you aren’t getting the effect you wanted. Remember, you only have one shot to make that pitch, if you lose them due to a lack of your own understanding, you lose them for good. Make a first impression, sell yourself, and treat your listeners with respect, they are worth it.
Step 4 – Inspire Them to Ask Questions
Questions are a sure way to see if your audience is engaged with you, and to see if you’ve given them something to think about. They have followed along attentively and soaked in the information you’ve presented, now you must give them something to act upon. A call to action means that they will make use of your teachings in ways that will improve their personal skills. If you miss this opportunity it means you need to take another look at your presentation and make a shift in your preparations. Show them the different ways they can use your knowledge and teachings by positively inspiring them to take the actions you desire.
Step 5 – The Final Word
It’s imperative that your audience is left with a message that will resonate with them long after you’re gone. It should be something strong enough that will keep them wanting to know more, yet gentle enough to have meaning and impact on their lives. If you are only there to share boring information, you’ve missed the point entirely. You must be compelling and passionate enough about your presentation and communicate your passion in such a way that your message will be remembered. This is what will insure that you will be invited again and again. You will be the one they want to bring back.
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Excellent information! I have attended so many conferences over the years on a variety of topics and can recall how speakers missed the mark in all of these areas.
I also believe that you have to be a good storyteller to hook them. I’ve noticed that you can’t focus your attention well if their format requires you to take a lot of notes… so give them the salient points and let them listen well.
How often do audience participants go back to their written notes and actively utilize them once the conference is over? Probably close to zero…. based on my own behavior. So, I think the auditory presentation and providing something other than an excessive amount of text is important! ‘Just my two cents!
Thanks Imagine Publicity!