You know your topic inside out.
You have spent ages preparing and rehearsing your presentation.
You have created a strong opening that is going to peak the audience’s interest and your ending contains a solid call to action.
But on the day, it all seems to fall flat and the audience just weren’t engaged, despite all the energy you put in to deliver a dynamic talk.
What went wrong?
One of the biggest mistakes you can make when presenting is to assume the audience will be automatically interested in your topic. Perhaps they will, perhaps they won’t.
When we are passionate about our topic, it’s hard to distance ourselves and realize that other people may not feel the same enthusiasm, but we need to take that step back.
One of the golden rules of presenting and public speaking is to research your audience well. But even when we know the audience are related to our topic and so should be interested, we cannot guarantee they will listen to us.
The bottom line is that people listen to something for a reason:
- To gain a benefit
- To prevent losing something
- Because they are genuinely interested in the topic
To create and deliver a successful presentation you must tell the audience WHY they should listen to you. And this simply means explaining how your information is going to be of value to them.
You mustn’t leave the choice of listening up to the audience.
You need to be clear and direct around this.
You need to tell the audience what they can gain from adopting your idea or taking the action you want them to.
You need to tell them what they stand to lose if they don’t listen to what you have to say.
Leaving it up to the audience to work out these two things for themselves is very risky.
Whichever approach you decide on, make sure your arguments are convincing and touch the audience’s personal or professional situation. You can do this by using real-life examples they can relate to and that demonstrate the benefit or pain of not listening to you.
Use language that appeals to their emotions. If you are giving a business presentation, especially in an area such as finance or IT that tend to contain a lot of factual content and statistics, include something that appeals to emotion. Remember, people are essentially emotional beings who have developed a logical brain.
Making assumptions in life in general can be dangerous.
Making the assumption that your audience will understand why they should listen to you is foolish. You are asking the audience to work too hard.
Instead spell it out for them and link it to their pain or gain with clear, concise language. This is the secret to talks that have great impact.
The success of any presentation can be measured by how much the audience go away thinking, feeling or acting as you want them to. Never leave this to chance.
Adopt the strategy outlined above and watch your impact soar.