We all know that a presentation will have the greatest impact if the audience is engaged. Typically there are four ways a presenter can connect with and engage the audience.
- Aurally: what they hear
How an audience hears a presenter can be as important as what they hear. How does the presenter sound – excited or neutral? How is the message phrased? Do you use acronyms and jargon that the audience doesn’t know? These are just three aural examples which affect the audience connection.
- Visually: what they see
We humans are sensitive to what we see. A presenter’s visuals should be simple, attractive and appropriate to the topic AND also appropriate for the audience. Traditional bullet lists on slides almost never meet these criteria, in fact they can disengage the audience from a presenter.
- Emotionally: arousing/transferring emotion
People are emotionally driven; we make decisions emotionally, we communicate emotionally. A presenter must transfer their own excitement, concern, and passion to the audience. One of the most powerful way to do this is through stories – share appropriate stories. Have a conversation with the audience, as many great presenter do, talk with them not at them.
- Intellectually: rational logical information
While people are emotional they also need facts, figures, and logic to make sense of the world. Only use facts and arguments that will resonate with the specific audience, and avoid anything that isn’t directly related.
Paying attention to what/how the audience hears, what they see, how they feel, and what they think will provide for an optimal presentation experience with maximum impact.