Power Presentations Tip 47: How to be more engaging

Have you ever seen people talking to or yelling at the TV?

Why do they do that?

Because they are engaged.

How can an inanimate object like a television engage, excite and enrage viewers? Because the television message has wrenched at their emotions. The audience cheers in ecstasy, groans in disappointment or screams in anger.

It's not the TV. It's the message and the delivery that excites people.

Imagine how effective your presentations would be when your audience is mentally and emotionally engaged.

How can you make your presentation more engaging?

Pause More Often and Longer

If you want people to think or respond leave more gaps of silence in your presentation. While you are talking your audience doesn't have the opportunity to think or respond. They can only listen and attempt to process your words. In my first year university calculus class the professor wrote and talked continuously. I was too busy scribbling notes and trying to listen to be engaged. I didn't have time to think or ask questions. I failed (and hated) that class .

When you are the speaker and you pause, you demonstrate to your audience that there is room for them to feel engaged.

Ask Questions & Encourage Response

Ask questions of your audience and you immediately engage their minds. That's what you want. We are conditioned to respond to questions. When you pose a question to the audience and pause long enough they will offer answers. And if you encourage it they will do it again. Reward all answers not just the right answer. Don't say, "No, that's wrong." Instead say, "Interesting idea, who else can add to this?"

If you want to engage people don't tell them that they are wrong. Welcome their contribution.

Tell a Personal Story

When you tell a personal story you reveal something about yourself. That is engaging because we are naturally curious. Notice how gossip captures ears in the lunch room. If you tell your personal story well it will be dramatic and visual. That will create pictures in the minds of your audience. A personal story can easily be emotional. Emotions and images are the best ways to engage the minds and hearts of your audience. The best stories are ones that your au dience can relate to - so they can see themselves in your story. That's why people scream at their TVs.

Review and rehearse your personal stories. Salt your presentations with personal stories to engage your audience.

Engage your audience in your presentation.

George Torok
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