Giving a great presentation is no easy task. It can take years to master the art of public speaking. However, some simple tricks can help you improve your performance. You need to bear some basic principles in mind in order to capture your audience’s attention. It is not enough to grab their interest, you also have to maintain it, sometimes for a long period of time. Indeed, studies show that attention can decrease extremely quickly in the first 10 minutes. To succeed in keeping them hooked, the keyword is entertainment.
Unfortunately, your knowledge and professionalism may not be enough. At times, you will need to become a motivational speaker, a stand-up comedian, a group therapist, a Socratic philosopher, or a mesmerizing actress or actor! Of course, you have to play all these parts without ever forgetting to be yourself!
If you want to achieve the amazing feat of keeping your audience interested and entertained throughout your presentation, preparation is key. Your words and your visual support on PowerPoint or Google Slides need to complement each other perfectly. Nonetheless, you will see that a little bit of improvisation in your speech can do no harm. Let’s have a look at the 10 pieces of advice we have prepared for you, or better said, the 10 roles you should play to deliver an entertaining presentation.
Hook your audience from the very start
Be Captain Hook!
The first words you will pronounce will set the tone for the rest of your presentation. You need to wake your audience’s interest right from the beginning. Don’t worry, there are many ways to do it! For instance, you can show a fascinating image, ask a thought-provoking or rhetorical question, make a provocative statement, transform a famous quote with humor, cite an unknown proverb and even tell a funny story or anecdote. The tool you will use depends and three factors: your topic, your audience, and your own style and personality. So leave your audience no chance to escape by choosing the hook that will help you nail your presentation!
Pique your audience’s curiosity
Throughout your presentation, you need to resort to Socratic oratory. Aspasia was an influential Greek woman who taught Socrates how to construct persuasive speeches. She actually wrote them for her statesman husband Pericles. How do you achieve such a thing? Always ask questions! Whether they are rhetorical, provocative, or even enigmatic questions, they always activate your attendees’ brains. Using cognitive dissonance and taking your audience out of their intellectual comfort zone will help you intrigue them. Build your presentation as a mystery story and never reveal the answer too soon!
Use everyone’s imagination
Be John Lennon!
Another way to stimulate the participants’ neurons is to make them picture an image in their minds. As John Lennon’s universal song showed us, the keyword to achieve this is Imagine. The power of this verb resides in the fact that it triggers positive emotions. Indeed, you need to generate feel-good and optimistic visions. People may say you’re a dreamer, but you’re not the only one!
Show universal humor
Be Charlie Chaplin!
We all know that business presentations tend to be dense and solemn. That is why adding a touch of humor can do no harm. For example, you can share a funny anecdote to break the ice at the beginning. You can also make a witty observation or a pun to relax the atmosphere when talking about serious matters. Of course, you need to pay attention to the fact that not everyone has the same sense of humor. Therefore, you need to know your audience in order to make everyone laugh or at least smile!
Know your audience and relate to them
Be Anna Freud!
Who will be the people in front of me? What do I know about them? How can I establish a strong intellectual and emotional connection with them? Like Sigmund Freud’s daughter Anna, a pioneer of child psychoanalysis, you need to relate in an effective way with your audience. This includes using accurate language and vocabulary, the right tone, adequate humor, and relevant information. Your words have to be music to their ears!
Convince through movement and body language
Be Jim Carrey!
Jim Carrey made a name for himself by using his amazing comic abilities. His gestures and facial expressions help him convey many emotions that fascinate a wide audience. Don’t overdo it like The Mask actor as you may overwhelm your public with too much movement! However, you definitely need to transmit feelings through your body language. Taking a few steps, changing position, or using hand gestures will definitely help you emphasize your message.
Use your voice to convey emotions
Be Meryl Streep!
Just as important as your body is your voice! A monotonous speech can put your audience to sleep. On the contrary, a squeaky or too high-pitched tone can be unpleasant. That is why you need to have a pleasant voice to convey your message and enthusiasm. Remember that TV, radio, and public speakers all have their own specific intonation. Besides, you must not forget to play with the pace: make pauses at important moments, accelerate the rhythm when telling an exciting anecdote, etc… Don’t overdo it, don’t sound like a robot either, be yourself, and vary your own voice inflections!
Go off script and improvise
Be Robin Williams!
If you know your speech by heart, you must have no fear of going off-script from time to time. Giving your audience some unexpected moments is also what will make your presentation unique. Not everybody is as good as the actor Robin Williams in terms of improvisation but you can certainly hold your part. You will always have to be creative when asked a question or if you have a technological problem. So surprise yourself and you will surprise your audience as well!
Manage your time perfectly
Be the White Rabbit!
In terms of time-managing, the golden rule is: Keep your presentation as short as possible but as long as it needs to be! Don’t drag it but don’t rush it either: you might lose your audience. Give them enough time to process the information. If you have to give a long presentation, split it into several clear-cut parts. Don’t hesitate to take short breaks. They will help you regain the full attention of the participants.
Share personal stories
Whatever technique you use to entertain your audience, you always need to speak from your true inner self. When you have to make a point, it is always better to tell a personal anecdote that illustrates your idea than just stating it. Concrete examples taken from your personal experience will make people empathize with you. The most important role you have to play is yourself!
We hope you will find these 10 Tricks To Entertain Your Audience During a Presentation helpful.