SP Tip # 78: Four Ways to Transform Your Presentation into a Conversation

Four Ways to Transform your Presentation into a Conversation

Which feels more inviting to you - "Let's talk" or "I'm going to deliver a speech"?

Most of us don't want to hear another lecture or a pitch. But we are more inclined to participate in a conversation.

Deliver your presentation like a conversation and your audience will feel more engaged and less like prisoners. Hence they will trust you more and listen better. Therefore they are more likely to remember and act on your message.

What are the critical elements of a good conversation that you can use in your presentation?

Imagine that you are talking to one person. Use the word "you" which is both singular and plural. Use "you" more often than the word "I" so your message is about them not you.
Avoid these phrases: "Welcome everyone", "Does anybody have a question?" and "You guys". Those mob words distance you from the audience by placing a barrier between you and them. You wouldn't use those words when talking to one person. Talk to one person.

Eye contact
Look at a single person when you speak. Move your glance from one person to another so that you are almost always talking to a single individual. You might need to glance at your notes, but don't waste time staring at the back wall, the floor or your slides. Talk to people. That individual eye contact will make them feel like they are part of an intimate conversation.

A good conversation includes good questions. Ask good questions of your audience and listen to their answers. Don't annoy them by repeatedly asking them to raise their hands. Invite questions from the audience and address their concerns. Be sure to pose rhetorical questions for the concerns that they might have - then answer them. That feels conversational.

A good conversation contains moments of silence. Allow the audience to absorb your message in silence. That demonstrates respect and allows them to internalize your message. Sprinkle pauses throughout your presentation.

The best experience for people in your audience is when they felt "the speaker was talking directly to me".

Don't deliver a lecture - engage in a conversation with each individual in your audience.

George Torok
Call to arrange for me to speak at your conference, corporate event or sales meeting.  
Presentation Tips on Twitter Presentation Skills Club on Facebook Executive Speech Coach, Business presentation tips from George Torok, the Speech Coach for Executives Share/Save/Bookmark