You don’t need to spend hours crafting beautiful slides to excite and engage your audience. Getting them on your side is real easy (and much simpler than messing around with slides).
Whether you realize it or not, when you deliver a presentation you are selling something. Maybe it’s the latest internet marketing gizmo, maybe it’s explaining a new HR policy to 5,000 employees. Both situations require the ability to persuasively put forward an idea.
The following are the three ways you can engage and persuade your audience.
1. Keep your language simple
Whether reading or listening, no one is impressed by flowery language. Long sentences and technical jargon can spell death for an otherwise stellar presentation. The harder the audience has to work to understand you the less likely the audience is to listen.
To immediately simplify your speech, make it more dynamic and easy to listen to, try to avoid using gerunds. A gerund is a verb with an “ing” ending. Replace this “Jane likes to go swimming on Saturday mornings” with “Jane likes to swim on Saturday mornings”. Make it better still with shorter sentences. “Jane likes to swim. Usually on Saturday mornings.”
Short sentences, simple language, and pauses equal easy listening.
2. Frame for the audience
To be able to effectively get your point across you have to speak to your audience.
Imagine you are an HR manager. You’re presentation talks about the new HR system and you’ve got an audience of 5,000 bored employees. It’s 4pm on a Friday afternoon. You know that no one really cares about the new system.
So what do you do?
Instead of talking about the features of the system, talk the audience’s language.
What are the audience’s frustrations with the current HR system and how is this new one going to make their lives easier?
Perhaps the system to log worked hours each month is time consuming and overly complicated. Maybe the new system makes this easier and more time efficient. In your presentation you would lead with this. So, instead of “We have a new HR system” change it to “I am going to show how to reduce the time you need to spend in the HR system every month”.
3. Stories engage better than facts
If you’ve ever studied sales copy, or had anything to do with copywriting you’ll understand this one.
Facts tell, but stories sell.
If you want to engage your listener, speak through stories.
Let’s imagine you have a speech about building better relationships with people. You’re about to talk about active listening.
You could start with “Why experts say active listening is the key to better relationships” and quote the facts. Then lead in how to practice active listening.
On the other hand you could start with “I want to tell you about the simple method I used to improve my relationship with my wife” and go on to explain how you never used to practice active listening and how this was destroying your relationship. Using active listening you turned things around. Now your relationship is better than ever. Your audience are far more likely to stick with you the whole way through.
That does it! If you implement these three points your public speaking will instantly become more engaging.