We speak to make a point, to change an attitude, a behavior or a belief. If that is not possible, we at least want to provoke the audience enough to cause them to re-think their current position. When added together, these three tools provide a solid platform for you to engage your audience in hopes of moving them from where they are now to where you hope they will be.
A clear message means you (and subsequently when you are done, your audience) should be able to sum up the entirety of your talk into one short sentence. – just one simple statement: “At the end of my talk I want my audience to know ________” (No “ands”, no “commas”, no “ampersands”). If you can be clear enough in your thinking to fill in that blank before you start speaking, you increase the likelihood your audience will understand your point.
Interaction is meaningful dialogue between either the speaker and the audience or between audience members, Audiences want to be involved in the conversation as active participants: they do not want to be merely passive receivers of information. Audience members will learn as they process information to form their own thoughts, and will learn from others in the group. Providing time to discuss the topic allows audience members to take pieces of the talk and add them up to a sum greater than that of all the parts.
To be clear, Interaction does not mean that you as the speaker get to talk for 55 minutes. You should take the opportunity to actively engage your audience by encouraging them to think, reflect, ask questions, evaluate and express themselves.
Enthusiasm demonstrates through actions, voice, and words that the you like and are excited about your topic. Your energy is quite contagious and rubs off on the audience.
Your enthusiasm alone is not enough to carry the day. A colleague recently reported to me that she watched a presentation in absolute awe based solely on the enthusiasm and energy of the speaker. It wasn’t until later that the colleague realized the speaker didn’t have a message – they were simply engaging and energetic.
A good presentation does not happen by chance or luck: it is created by a good presenter. These three elements are basic building blocks to help you design outstanding talks that engage the audience and by doing so, may change and attitude, belief, or behavior.
With appreciation to Andy Goodman and Jenn Tarlton.
© 2016 – This speaking tip is one in a series provided to you by iSpeakEASY. We help people speak effectively and with confidence.
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