Studies show that we present, we have about 60 seconds to capture the audience’s attention, or we lose them forever to their phones or their thoughts. So, essentially, we have 60 seconds to prove to them that we are worth listening to! That really doesn’t seem like a lot of time, but it is enough to convince people to stay attentive throughout your presentation if you know how to present effectively. In today’s business world, presentation sharing websites are gaining popularity as they allow people to share presentations online without any hassle. With more and more people opting for remote working, being able to share presentations online is a huge help. However, presentation sharing websites only solve one part of the problem. Now that you have shared your presentation online and everyone has got it, the real problem is presenting the presentations effectively. That’s why here’s a little something to help you gain and retain your audience’s attention while presenting.
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What’s the Problem with Presentations?
Presentations are essentially loud conversations that give us the results we need. By sharing online presentations, we have improved our inclusivity and brand visibility. However, retaining the audience’s attention throughout a whole presentation is no easy task. Studies show that as the years go by, the average attention span of humans is shrinking. This means that it is less likely every year that you will be able to hold your audience’s attention while you present. This is why you need to have a good presentation strategy in place. The starting is incredibly important because people decide on whether you are worth listening to in the first minute. If you waste that minute thanking a lot of people the crowd doesn’t even know or dropping a joke that has no consequence to them, you will lose your attention. Since it is hard enough retaining the attention of people who want to listen to you, you can imagine how difficult it is to regain lost attention. Therefore, your strategy needs to be to hold attention early on and then make sure your audience doesn’t lose focus. So, how do you do that?
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How to Start Great
- A great way to capture your audience’s attention right away is to start with a captivating story that they can relate to. Storytelling is a great tool that helps you connect, interact and communicate effectively with large groups. The story can be of a personal nature, maybe provide the audience with introspection into why you do what you do. It can also be a fable, a fairy-tale or even a historic event that captures the essence of what you are going to say.
- Another great way to capture someone’s attention is by throwing a rhetorical question at them, which makes them think and analyze what you said. The aim of such questions is not to solicit a loud response from the crowd, but rather to make them silently answer to themselves individually.
- Give the audience a headline or fact that is absolutely shocking! This shock factor will wake them up better than their morning coffee, ensuring that you have their whole attention from then on.
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- Start off with a powerful quote that you will feel will resonate with the crowd. However, make sure you don’t go for anything too generic, which the crowd might have heard a thousand times before, as this leads to lesser impact and bored people.
- Open your online presence with a startling photo that grabs your audience’s attention and prompts them to listen to you. As they all say, a picture speaks a thousand words, and hence, whenever possible try to use visual imagery rather than textual ones.
- If you are a good performer and a confident orator, you can also spice things up by relying on a prop to start things off with a bang. A prop can be anything you find around you which you feel will keep your audience hooked.
- Start with a short video containing testimonials, or even emphatic news or process which accentuates what you will be presenting on.
Engaging Your Audience Throughout the Presentation
Sharing presentations online is half the work, the other half includes getting through the presentation without having anyone fall off to sleep. This requires you to be enthusiastic, and fun, so that you are able to engage the audience, and so prevent any snores!
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- Smile often and make sure you show the audience that you love what you do.
- Make sure you add the right enunciation, rather than droning off monotonously because no one wants to listen to a robot on stage.
- Watch your body language and make sure you avoid droopy shoulders, lifeless hands, and sad emotions while presenting.
- Deliver your message with the passion to grab your audience’s curiosity and keep them focused.
- If you are confident about performing, go out of the box and do something creative. This includes everything from belting out a few lines or even breaking into a dance if the situation is appropriate for the same. If you keep your audience guessing regarding what you will do next, they will most likely not get the time to doze off.
- Try to show relevant videos whenever possible to help reinforce the ideas you talked about. However, make sure you keep it crisp and short.
- Ask as many relevant and thought-provoking questions as possible as this helps you keep your audience on their toes.
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