Talks Christmas

Keep your audience engaged!

A 2 minute read written by
Nicolai August Hagen
15.12.2020

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There are many ways to make sure that your audience is following along as you present. Here comes a few learning points we had from analyzing different talks, both our own talks, the king of Norway, and many many others 👑

Some examples of talk analysis

At December 7th, I introduced the concept of recreational talk analysis. In our competency group on talks, we have also done this in a more structured format, analyzing both each others on competency days, as well as more renowned "third-party" speakers. In this article, I share the most important results!

Know your audience!

First and foremost, you need to go quickly through for yourself before your talk; who is your audience, really? Is the audience the steering group in a company wanting all the answers, your best friends at your bachelorette party wanting a good time, or children trying to learn coding?

Giving it some minutes in advance to understand who your audience is really helps when it comes to keeping them focused. If you organize your bachelorette-speech in the same way as the presentation to the steering group committee, they would get bored. The other way around, the steering group would perhaps raise some eyebrows on structuring laying out the Q3 numbers as a bachelorette-party-speech.

Alternate style and break up your flow!

In every presentation, it can be good to do something that breaks with the normal flow in your presentation. Especially if it's a longer presentation. Your may for example "break up" by:

  • Play a video in one of the slides
  • Ask somebody in the audience a question
  • Do something completely different in just 1 slide
  • Play a part of a song
  • Say something humorous
  • Do something "live" at the scene

Choose a different style in between slides

Techniques

Play on people emotions

Make sure people feel that you are talking about them:

  • Address all the members of your audience directly in the beginning of your presentation
  • Let the audience know that you are seeing each and one of them.
  • Tell stories that people can relate to. Use examples from your audience's everyday life to explain something. Something that you think every member of the audience can relate to.

Be humorous

Humor has a natural way of keeping people focused during a talk! Be spontaneous with your jokes. However, be careful not to use it too much. Also, only use humor if it comes natural to you.

Be personal and open

There are good reasons for the success of TV shows like Keeping up with the Kardashians, The Osbournes and Paradise hotel; we all love to listen to other's secrets!

If you are comfortable with it, being personal, open and honest on stage can really engage your audience. Especially curious human beings will really get their ears out.

Gestures, body language and pitch of voice

Lastly, some tips on gestures, body language:

  • Use your hands to emphasize special points in your talk!
  • Make sure to get direct eye contact with your audience
  • Try "preaching" to your audience

As Trond will talk more about tomorrow, there is also a lot you can do with your pitch of voice during a presentation. More on this in the next article 🚀

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