How to Make an Audience Listen

So what do you do when you can’t put that presentation off any longer? When you’ve managed to delay, procrastinate and excuse your way out of talking in front of a group of colleagues or clients but that fateful day is just around the corner? Well maybe we won’t ever actually enjoy standing up in front of everyone but at least we can make it tolerable…

Here are 6 tips that will help you fight through your anxiety and deliver an effective presentation:

Prepare, Prepare, Prepare
If you have a complete understanding of your material, you will definitely have an advantage during your presentation. There is no need to memorise your material; you just need to be familiar with it. Chances are you will know at least a bit more than most of the audience so why not use this to your advantage?

Powerful Opening
Open up with a bang. You want to immediately engage your listeners and set the tone for the presentation. This can be anything from a startling statement, statistic or fact, expressing appreciation for your audience, asking them a challenging question or even showing a powerful image; anything in fact that will engage the room.

After your opening, give everyone an overview of how you will spend the time and most importantly what they will gain from your presentation. What’s in it for them and why is it important that they listen? Make sure you let them know.

Focus on a Few Key Points
Know the major points you want to make and keep it short and succinct. This will help ease your worry and increase your confidence. Attention spans are getting shorter so the good news is that your audience will appreciate brevity.

Support Ideas with Evidence
It is always important to provide evidence to support your main points. Supporting evidence will help your audience understand your points and will give you a chance to explain them more fully.

Close with a Call to Action
What do you want your audience to do or think as a result of your presentation? Make sure that the last impression your audience has of you and your presentation is a positive call to action.

For more presentation skills tips download a Free Guide to Effective Public Speaking.