Most of us think of presentations as standing at the front of the room, while others watch and listen. But today, with the help of technology, there are several opportunities for us to do presentations online. And while we know we must prepare for a conference presentation in front of a room full of people, it’s sometimes not as obvious that you still have to prepare when you’re sitting at home in front of your computer.
Lack of preparation is usually cause for much of our “fear” of speaking publicly. Make sure you have adequate time to prepare for your presentation and practice it until you are comfortable. Enunciation is the key to having a successful presentation. If you are on a conference call it is even more significant, because participants are not able to see your lips moving, which can hinder their ability of understanding what you are saying.
When preparing for your presentation that will include video conferencing capabilities, be sure to take time to get accustomed with the system. See our blog Conquering Video Conferencing for more tips. While technology is a great way to save time, money and make it easier for people to meet, it’s also more difficult to get and keep your audience’s attention.
Here are some procedures to keep your audience’s attention and focus in the right place.
Quote, Anecdote, Rhetorical Question – These are some of the oldest tricks in the book on how to hook your audience. You must be sure to use a quote, anecdote, or rhetorical question that segues nicely into your material. If, for example, you were talking about the recession, you could give an anecdote about the Great Depression and use it to underlie the point of your message. Or you could ask the rhetorical question: Just how comparable is our economic crisis to that of the 1930s? These types of leads will get people thinking, and help them tune in to what your main focus is.
New Twist on the Familiar – Take a familiar quote, story, saying, or anecdote and change it. This will give your listeners a new perception on the familiar as well as grab their attention. If you control the twist skillfully enough, you can sometimes make quite an impression. Let’s say you were giving a presentation on nutrition in America. You could say, “To eat, or not to eat. That is the question.” The braver the twist, the more likely the reaction will be. However, it must makes sense and fit into your material. One of the simpilest ways is to find popular aphorisms online and try mixing the wording around.
Personal Story – This can help introduce you as the speaker and gives a personal take on the message. It relaxes your audience and can help them relate to your material. Part of your credibility as a presenter is the authority you have to talk on a specific subject. A good way to do this, for example, could be to lead into your presentation with a personal story about how you got involved in your career, started your business, or became an expert on the subject. The key is to be funny or endearing so people will trust and relate to you.
Audience Participation – This is as useful as an icebreaker, but tends to work better in small settings. The easiest example is to have everyone introduce themselves. However, you can get creative, depending on the setting. Often in class, teachers will have people work in groups and find out 5 interesting facts.