Any danger your audience may slip into a coma?

Think of the conditions that prevailed last time you found yourself falling asleep driving your car.  Heater blowing hot air on your face, windscreen wipers creating a hypnotic rhythm, straight road ahead with no defining features on the landscape. How does this equate to your presentation style?  Have you developed techniques to keep your audience alert or could they slip into a coma any moment ?

Change gear to keep them awake !

Learn to change gear … slam your message into top gear, put your foot on the accelerator and, just when your audience get used to the new pace, slam the brakes on and hammer home a crucial point.
You can change gear with words, vocal quality and body language …
here’s a few ideas …

Get louder … find a spot in your presentation that gives you license to sharply increase the volume … now watch your audience sit up and pay attention. Example : ‘So we asked ourselves the fundamental question …  HOW! …now continue at your normal volume

Get faster … … you’ll know when to do this !  Find parts of your presentation that build the scene rather than deliver crucial information … stuff that normally comes in a document under the heading background.  Be brave … get faster … but ensure you still maintain good diction … and pause more often to let people assimilate the information properly.

Get bigger … use bigger gestures … run the risk that your deodorant is working! … but keep gestures slow and deliberate.  Don’t be scared to gesture to the screen and leave your hand pointing to information whilst you bring your eye contact back to the audience.  This can make you look more in control. You can grow taller too … simply get closer to your audience and the dimension of what you are saying will automatically increase as well.

Get creative … use a word the audience have never heard before.  Example … “ladies and gentlemen, this process will need  F-A-C-I-P-U-L-A-T-I-O-N … (this is a cross between facilitation and manipulation).

Get energetic … if you are interacting with both slides and say a whiteboard, then don’t dilly-dally between the two mediums … jog there! Demonstrate to the audience that you are prepared to burn energy to transfer information faster.

If you’re not exhausted after a full-on presentation … then you haven’t worked hard enough!

© Paul Tomes 2011

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