When I make a presentation to a client, a public gathering, or to my own team, I am most successful when I am intentional about creating an emotional connection with my audience. To that end, here are four suggestions that help me stay connected with the truth that “people may not remember what we said but they will always remember how we made them feel.”
Four suggestions I have found helpful to engage audiences
Spend time reflecting on why you are passionate about your ideas and the good that will be accomplished if your audience embraces them. Allow the strength of your passion for your message to energize and animate your words and your presence. TIP: Present with emotional contagion: genuinely feel the emotions that you want your audience to feel, then invite them to share that emotional space with you.
Curiosity is a powerful lever to help your audience become open to hearing your message. Awaken their curiosity by asking them a meaningful question or making a surprising statement. People decide about the value of your message based upon the first thing you say, so don’t miss this opportunity to win their attention. TIP: Memorize your opening statement and deliver it with genuine emotion.
Get Them Talking.
I have found that giving my audience the opportunity engage in conversation about the ideas I am presenting greatly increases their enjoyment and their ownership of my ideas. In fact, their interaction often leads to improving on what I am presenting. Just remember, if you want people to interact with you and with each other during your presentation, get them talking within the first five minutes. Create the expectation of talking at the very beginning. TIP: Create relevant, meaningful questions for your audience to discuss.
If you sense that your feelings for your topic are not being accepted by your audience, don’t get nervous and artificially ramp up your energy or become discouraged; just hold securely to your passion for the message and be confident. Confidence is winsome and always respected. TIP: Focus on the value of the gift you are giving and the possibilities that will open when others see its value.
About the Author
Wes Avants is an Executive Director at CTI and has a rich background in helping organizations and individuals through the process of transformation. With an atypically broad range of experiences and education, he draws from the best practices of organizational theory, counseling psychology, human learning, leadership, spirituality, emotional intelligence, and physical health to help organizations unleash the unlimited potential of their people. Read more about Wes