How to Grab Your Audience & Keep Them Interested

April 20, 2012 by  

When addressing an audience you have only a few minutes to really grab their attention, therefore your greeting and opening element need to be engaging.  Once you have their attention you need to vary your presentation in a number of ways in order to keep them interested; as the human attention span can be very limited if you are not doing something fascinating.

Here are some key points to help you create and maintain audience involvement:
1. Smile: if you look happy, you are more likely to make your audience happy. Smiles are contagious! In addition, it will make you look more confident, at ease, and trustworthy. Finally, if you are having fun, so will your listeners.
2. Make direct eye contact with individuals in your audience. When you do this you make them feel as if you are speaking directly to them so they will feel connected to you. In addition, eye contact represents honesty, which will also be appreciated by your listeners.
3. Ask a question. Challenging your audience to consider an approach, idea or strategy is another engagement technique. This encourages thinking, always a good idea when attempting to create an environment conducive to retentive learning.
4. Tell a story. Everyone loves a good story….so if you have an interesting tale that illustrates a key issue you are about to develop, this would be a great way to spark interest not only from the beginning but even during the session.
5. Use your voice to your advantage….be animated, exude energy, modulate your volume and inflection.  Interject an occasional “pregnant” pause to emphasize a point and put your audience on the edge of their seats waiting for you to finish the thought.
6. Use appropriate language that suits your audience so that they will be able to appreciate and understand your message. If you talk over their heads or down to them it will be difficult to hold their attention.
7. Finally, end with a challenge, something provocative, another story, a poem perhaps that is relevant to your topic.  Summaries are also a beneficial ending style as it re-emphasized the key points you want to leave with your audience. Different types of presentations warrent different styles of endings….choose one that feels right for you.

The main thing to remember is to prepare well, practice a lot, and have fun!

Accountability…the Key to Personal Empowerment

April 4, 2012 by  

Do you like being around a grumpy or negative person?
When unfortunate things happen do you stay in victim mode?
Becoming accountable can bring happiness and positivity to your life….here is how to move from being a victim to becoming accountable.

When something bad happens, particularly when it is beyond your control, instead of continuing to feel frustrated, out of control, angry, and upset or looking for someone to blame. Ask yourself these two simple questions:
1. How did I contribute to this?
2. What can I do now?

Now you have 3 choices:
1. Take an Action:
If it is something simple and obvious like taking a pet to the Vet, getting your car fixed, a leak repaired or the hot water tank replaced, we know what to do to take action. On the other hand, when it is a situation with a person, it becomes more difficult.
Most of us do not like to engage in “difficult conversations“. However if we are going resolve the problem, because it is our problem and so are the one suffering, we need to have that exchange. If we do not, we keep suffering and the person who caused this situation will remain in the dark.
Now, just because we screw up our courage and have the assertive exchange does not mean that we will get the result we expect or hope…we cannot make people do things they do not want to do. We will feel better for trying, though.
2. Manage your Attitude:
If step 1 did not work, even after trying it a couple of times you should try to change your perception of the situation so that you can live with it. Let it go or devise a strategy that entertains you rather than aggravates you. Play a game in your head by figuring out how long it will take for the person to do something which is upsetting or try to figure out what they would do under certain circumstances and reward yourself when you are correct. Also, pick your battles, dealing with every little thing is a waste of time and energy be sure it is worth the effort before engaging.
3. Leave the Situation:
If you have tried steps 1 & 2 without success, in order to save yourself sometimes we have to leave a situation, whether it is a job or a relationship. Your health is not worth a bad unsolvable situation and your life is too short to keep living in a bad place….move on!

None of these options are easy, however, in order to reduce our stress we need to be proactive and take those steps when we are faced with adversity.

If it is to be, it is up to me!
Do not stay in victim mode it is most unhealthy and if you are suffering, so is everyone else around you at home and at work.
Become accountable!!