1. Start with a Bang
Break the ice by sharing a short story, a joke, or a startling statistic that will grab the audience’s interest. Appealing to them from the beginning will result in a more involved and participatory audience.
2. Engage the Audience
Consider breaking up lectures with small table discussions, polls, or other educational
activities to allow the participants to interact with the speaker and each other.
3. Keep Presentation Slides Visual: Less is More
a. Follow the 6 x 6 rule: no more than 6 lines of text per slide, no more than 6 words per line
b. Increase font size when space allows
c. Don’t use graphs/tables that have a large amount of content. The audience won’t have time to understand the content.
d. Use quality, high-resolution images that fit the slide
e. Don’t read your slides word-for-word!
4. Show Your Excitement/Passion for the Topic
Showing your excitement for the topic will enhance your presentation, and attendees will be more eager to listen and learn if they know you are passionate about educating them on it. Vary your tone of voice and move around the stage to keep attendees interested. Put an emphasis on keywords and ensure you speak at a pace that allows your audience to stay engaged.
5. Keep Track of Time
Be considerate of the audience’s time. If you are presenting before another speaker, keep your presentation within the time slot to prevent cutting into their time. Rehearse ahead of time to know how long your presentation will last. Do not go over your permitted time.
6. Keep an Eye on Your Body Language
Body language is essential to earning the trust of your audience. Keep your shoulders and back straight, it helps you feel more relaxed. Smiling often creates an instant connection with the audience. Incorporate your arms and hands into your presentation to make you more animated. Keeping constant eye contact with the audience can help preserve their attention.
7. Avoid Content Overload
Providing too much information can overwhelm the audience. Instead, focus on a section and create an activity around it to help them be more proficient in that one area.
8. Offer Instant Gratification with a Takeaway
Provide one tip, advice, or tool that they can take and implement immediately in their own setting. Ask the audience to think about how they can use this piece of advice in their work environment.
9. Provide More than Presentation Handouts
Provide additional handouts with other resources, tools, and reading so they can further their learning after the presentation.
10. Be Prepared!
Practice, practice, practice. Public speaking is not easy and takes practice and experience. Ask your contact how big the room will be and what equipment will be available to you (podium, microphone, etc.). The more prepared you are, the more comfortable you will be when you begin your speech. It will also eliminate surprises and make you much more adaptable.
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