Here are some simple techniques you can use to keep your audience engaged (and awake!) during your next presentation:

Tell a story: As the saying goes, “facts fade, data gets dumped, stories stick!” Our brains are naturally hard-wired for narrative and we teach and learn best via storytelling. That’s not to say that stats and metrics aren’t important but weaving a story or example into them will often be what ultimately persuades the listeners. Magic Phrase = “For example…”

Incorporate names: What’s everyone’s favorite word? Their name! This simple trick can keep everyone on their toes (especially on con calls) and add a bit of flattery, too. “So you can see, John, how the process will be significantly shorter.” “Barbara was sharing with me earlier…”

Ask for a show of hands: Survey questions are highly interactive for audiences, plus they can provide great insights helping you to quickly customize, review, or skip ahead. “How many of you have a social media strategy already in place?” “Have any of you ever been up in a hot air balloon?”

Ask a rhetorical question: These questions aren’t asking for a response, but they’re engaging all the same as audiences try to answer it in their heads. “Have you ever wondered…” “Have you ever found yourself…’

Add a prop: A great technique, especially for those kinesthetic learners in your audience. “I’m going to pass the device around, so you can all feel how lightweight it is.” “As you’ll see in the brochure, the before-and-after shots are quite amazing.”

Ask for their input: “Would anyone care to share how…?” “What do you see as the downside of Option 1?” Be careful here. You run the risk of someone stealing the floor from you, so maintain control of the crowd and the clock.

Demonstrate something: Or better yet, have the audience demo it as you instruct. “When you click on this link, the drop-down box will appear.” “This yoga position is especially good for your back.”

Now you have seven tricks for keeping your audiences heads-up, off of their phones, and engaged in you and your message. And don’t stop with just one of them. Incorporate as many as you can in your presentations and get ready for some positive feedback!

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