How to Unlock the Minds of Your Audience

June 22, 2017 by  

Chances are, at some point in time, you have likely tried to use a key that was rusted, dirty, or damaged in some way. Sure, the key might still open the lock, but now it takes much more effort and probably some measure of frustration, too.
Your content is the key to any good presentation, but if that key is not well polished, the presentation won’t measure up to your expectations.
A good presentation is easy for the audience to follow and can even be fun to hear. When the audience is intrigued, engaged, and inspired, the room will be filled with energy. This occurs when the speaker allows the audience to focus on the meaning of his or her words, rather than making them exert great effort when trying to figure out what they are attempting to say. The more distractions  the speaker can remove, the easier it will be for the key to unlock the minds of the audience.

So what are those common types of speaker rust, dirt, and damage that can occur?
Here are some examples that you should pay attention to:

1. Irrelevant information or relevant information delivered at the wrong time. As a speaker, it is easier to determine what you should say than what not to say. Some speakers assume they are the center of attention and so believe that their audience wants to hear everything they have to say. Effective speakers understand that it is the audience that is the center of attention, so everything said must benefit them, not satisfy the ego of the speaker.

2. A poorly designed talk. This happens when the audience ends up expending a great deal of energy trying to piece together the bits of information being presented, rather than just being able to enjoy and later expand upon the ideas being provided.

3. Poor presentation style. Distracting mannerisms (ring twirling or not knowing what to do with your hands), verbal fidgeting (ums, ahs, like, you know), and pacing back and forth, all detract from the speaker’s credibility as they make him or her look as though that lack confidence. These behaviours also prevent the audience from being able to readily absorb what is being said and makes them uncomfortable, too. In addition, because the speaker sets the tone of the room, if he or she is anxious and nervous, then the audience will share those emotions and find it more difficult to listen attentively.

4. Lack of attention to audience needs. An audience member who is thirsty, hungry, deprived of caffeine, or in need of a break will have a much more difficult time listening well, which means they will not be able to focus or appreciate what is being shared by the speaker. In other words, the presenter must keep a close on eye on the audience to determine when a break would be appropriate, when to change their pace of delivery, or when to find a way to actively engage the audience.

5. Poorly designed graphics. If the audience is forced to guess what an image used on a slide means, rather than just being allowed to listen to the speaker and understand the points being made, this will likely cause them to disengage. Once you lose the attention of your audience, it is much more difficult to get them back. So again, you must pay attention to how they are receiving your material and ahead of time, put yourself in their shoes to be sure that any graphics offered reinforce the points you are trying to make rather than confusing the listeners.

A good presenter should demonstrate great respect for their audience. They also should show that they value the audience so much, that they want to make their experience totally enjoyable. Most people may forgive a poor presentation style if the content is valuable or interesting; however, they have the right to expect a presentation to have both good content and an excellent delivery. So the next time you are to make a presentation, be sure to take the suggested tips into consideration when preparing your materials and yourself for that event……if you do, you will enjoy much more success as a speaker and will have a much more satisfied audience!