The Audience Connection

How to present your ideas in ways that move people to action

Every good presentation has a specific objective. At times that objective may be simply to inform, enlighten or educate. In many instances, though, the objective is to get your audience to react in a positive way and to take action.  Perhaps you want them to buy something, or you want to convince them to adopt and act upon a new business strategy.

       Whatever objective youre looking to achieve, its important to realize that in order to do so, you must be in sync with the people youre trying to reach. Much like an entertainer who can capture a crowd and totally win them over, the best and most successful presenters are able to connect with their audience.

       To follow are five ways to do just that:

Work some humor into your presentation.
You don't have to be a comedian. However, a short and applicable joke at the beginning of your presentation may be appropriate to help relax you and your audience. Better yet, tell a short humorous story (it doesn't have to be knee-slapping funny, just amusing) perhaps something very timely that just happened. For example, you might relate very well on a personal level to your audience if you said something like on the way to the meeting room, I came across...

 Act relaxed, even if you're not feeling that way.
If you're squirming, your audience will feel uncomfortable. And worse, they will direct their attention and concentration to your uneasiness...instead of the content of your presentation. Breathe deeply whenever possible to help keep your composure. Do not allow your eyes to shift around nervously. Do not shuffle your feet, sway from side to side or use excessive motions with your hands. And do not check your watch or a clock on the wall.

Keep up your energy level.
You want your audience to be as excited about what you're presenting as you are. Therefore, be enthusiastic in the way you present. Communicate the strongest points of your presentation with confidence, conviction and assuredness.

Be yourself.
While giving an oral presentation, trying to imitate a great orator or changing your personality can backfire on you. If you act phony you will likely be perceived that way and your presentation may not be fully accepted or even believable.

Challenge your audience.
Almost everyone loves a challenge, especially in the competitive business world. For example, if you're presenting to a group of sales professionals, toward the end of your presentation you could challenge your audience to get out there and raise customer satisfaction to 97% while also increasing sales numbers 22% compared to last year!  This approach gives the audience definitive goals to strive for, inviting and moving them to take specific action as a result of your presentation.