Assess your audience and invite them into your story with an opening that will engage and excite them. Consider their expectations and background and provide an opening that makes them want to settle into their chairs instead of check their watches!
Make sure that you take advantage of this all important (often forgotten) element of story telling. Everyone has an imagination – trigger it with the right words and visuals, but don’t over do it and stifle the audience’s participation. Allen notes, “Imagination is the direct access point to our creativity. Simply ask ‘imagine this…’ and people’s creative juices start flowing. They’re transported to a different and vivid new reality without leaving their seats.”
Don’t get so wrapped up in your delivery that you forget to pay attention to how the audience is taking in your tale. Social media channels provide “back noise,” where participants may anonymously comment during a presentation. Twitter is another mechanism (in some circles) to monitor how a presentation is coming across. Chris Brogan, President of New Marketing Labs, a new media marketing agency, has been known to display the back channel on a huge screen behind him during his speeches. That is one way to know what people are thinking, but these mechanisms for following on-the-spot feedback have not reached all industries. (This is probably a good thing for many speakers!) It is still important to try to keep your finger on the pulse of your audience.
Watch their body language. Are they slumped? Sleeping? Checking their email under the table? If so, think about adjusting mid-stream. If you don’t have their attention, you may as well be talking to a wall. Be flexible and go with the flow. If you can do that, you can succeed at presenting.
Allen points out, “…keep this in mind: What you’re saying isn’t for you. It’s for your team.” Never forget your audience. If they are with you – you’re golden.
After completing the Communicate to Win workshop, you will have the most compelling argument and the best ideas. With this complete package, you will gain the tools necessary to guarantee that you have the best ideas and that you can present them confidently so you will WIN. Read what participants say.
photo by scottfeldstein