Engaging people during a meeting is one of the most difficult tasks a professional can face.
While listening to a recent presentation, I put together some suggestions:
- Content is fundamental BUT the way to present it is at least as important as content
- VARY THE WAY to present your content to the audience. Do NOT adopt common methods but use a different style. The surprise will “shake” the audience and attract the attention, provoking emotions: this is the reason why, NOWADAYS, my suggestion is NOT to use .ppt presentations. They have been abused and, as a consequence, not able to stimulate reactions any more as the audience is TOO used to them
- AVOID the term PRESENTATION: it is always better “to meet people”, “to dialogue with them”, “to discuss about a certain topic” rather than to PRESENT them something, giving a clear one-way direction to the meeting
- Your VOICE is fundamental. The TONE and the VOLUME are key elements to engage with people in front of you
- Use IMAGES and CARDS as they can help to provoke emotions and reactions in the people listening to your speech
- Start speech with the CORE of your message, to capture the attention of the audience, and THEN provide more details and explanation of specific aspects
- DO NOT SIT behind you laptop during the presentation. Stand up and walk around the room. You need to add dynamism to the situation. If you have ten people sitting around a table, standing there for 1 hour or more, they need continuous stimulation to maintain their attention vivid and to the point. Otherwise you will loose their attention
- KISS (Keep It Short and Simple) Principle has to be always in your mind. Even if you like to talk, try to be as short as possible and keep your talking to the point (be sure with previous assessment and questions about what the exact point is)
- PREPARE EVERYTHING WELL IN ADVANCE and be sure that everything works in front of the audience at the right time. Otherwise you will offer a bad idea since the beginning
- Make your audience LAUGH. It always works
Note: if you see people yawning or leaving the room in advance, it is a clear sign that you have to go quickly to either the point or the conclusion of the speech!