Wednesday, April 25

Presentation Skills - How to keep your audience rooted

How many times have you seen that while you are presenting a topic, your audience doesn't seem to be interested in listening to you? Or when you are the audience, you just didn't feel like listening to this speaker? 

Here are some tips (well, they are the obvious ones) that will help you keep the audience rooted and motivated to watch you when you stand to make a presentation.

1. Eye contact. Maintaining eye contact with the audience is very important. Look at your audience at all times when you speak. You’ll look more honest and will be liked. You want the audience to believe what you are saying. Can you ever believe someone speaking to you without looking at you in the eyes?

2. Have fun. Watching you should not be a punishment - neither for you nor for the audience. A presenter with a sense of humour, fun and energy tells audiences there’s something worth listening to. But don't over do. You're the presenter, not the clown!

3. Smile. "Smile, an ever lasting smile, a smile can bring you near to me." Smile helps in building trust with audiences. Where a smile is inappropriate, at least assume a pleasant expression.

4. Speak loud enough. Too-soft presenters make listeners work too hard. Speak loud enough to reach every listener in the room, especially people in the back and those who are hard of hearing. The larger the speaking venue, the more you must project your voice. However, have mercy on the people in the room by not shouting. 

5. Dress appropriately: Your audience must take you seriously. And looks matter. Dress appropriately, depending upon the type of presentation. Unless you're sort of a celebrity or a Steve Jobs, if you don't dress a step up, your audience won't take you seriously.

6. Gestures and Postures: You must be aware of your gestures and postures which send non-verbal messages to the audience. This is no less critical. 

It is mandatory to practice so that you are comfortable in front of people. Record a video, practice in front of the mirror or friends to help you introspect or provide feedback of what to improve. Stepping into the shoes of the audience helps you improve your presentation. 

These should help you in becoming a better presenter and captivating audience.

All the best!

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