How to Deliver a More Engaging Presentation

Larry Alton

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Whether you are delivering a report to your company, or you find yourself pitching a service to a prospective client, understanding how to be more engaging in presentations is something we all need help with.

Five Tips for Grabbing Your Audience's Attention

Few individuals are naturally comfortable speaking in front of other people. In fact, public speaking is one of the most common fears in the world.

Part of the reason people are afraid of getting up and talking is because they are unskilled at it. So, instead of feeling confident in their delivery and the audience's response, they are filled with doubt and worry about how an audience will receive a particular presentation.

If you want to become a better presenter, particularly when speaking to business colleagues and prospective clients, you must learn how to engage your audience. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Gather Feedback and Use It

If you want to be an engaging presenter, you must be receptive to feedback. When people tell you that you are missing the mark on something or that a particular technique works well, take that advice to heart and use it to better yourself. It is difficult to open yourself up to criticism, but it is the best thing for you in the long run.

2. Use Catchphrases and Repetition

People are not going to remember everything you say in a presentation. Even ten minutes after you present you would be hard-pressed to find someone who could remember more than a handful of points you made. Instead of letting this frustrate you, allow it to motivate you.

To engage your audience and help them remember what you say, use catchphrases and repetition. These are the things people will remember ten minutes, ten hours, and ten days from now.

3. Use Visuals

Visual aids are powerful, but you have to walk a fine line between revealing too much and not revealing anything at all. Instead of putting everything you say into a PowerPoint presentation (which takes the focus away from you), hit the highlights and rely on a couple of strategic visual representations to complement what you are saying.

4. Make it Tangible

Some people learn best when they have something they can touch and feel. While a visual presentation is great, passing out brochures gives people a chance to touch and feel something. If nothing else, brochures enhance the experience and make the presentation more memorable.

You can print out brochures cost-effectively, and they are easy to bring with you from presentation to presentation. If you have not already tried this, consider implementing brochures as part of your strategy moving forward.

5. Develop a Killer Closing

While your presentation's intro matters—and will set the tone for how the audience receives you—it is the closing that leaves the lasting impression (good or bad). If you want to end on a high note, use a story or personal illustration.

"Many times I see companies defaulting to a case study," entrepreneur Eric Holtzclaw points out. "While a case study is good, consider how you can turn it into a meaningful story; how does or could the proposed work influence others' lives? Creating empathy with your audience and tying the story back to points made throughout the presentation ensures your presentation will hit the mark."

Become a Powerful Presenter

Nobody is born a good presenter. Some people are naturally more charismatic than others, but that does not mean they are skilled at delivering stellar presentations. If you want to become a more powerful presenter, you have to practice. Specifically, you have to perfect your ability to engage your audience. Developing this ability will take time, but approaching it from this angle will yield good results.

Larry is an independent business consultant specializing in tech, social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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