How to Involve Audiences in Innovative Presentations
An innovative presentation, like a conversation, has at least two people — one who speaks and one who listens. However, both situations need balance. If two people have a conversation and one person dominates it, talking solely about her interests without regard for the other person who passively (supposedly) listens, the listener probably isn’t interested in what the talker has to say, especially after an extended period tolerating a long-winded monologue.
But, if the non-stop talker asks the listener a question, makes eye contact, and smiles, the (polite) listener becomes more involved in the discussion. You want to elicit the same reaction from your audience. By showing interest in reciprocally listening, your one-sided monologue becomes a meaningful, active dialogue.
Speaking about topics that don’t interest or aren’t pertinent to your audience’s needs is a waste of time for everyone.
An engaged speaker creates an attentive and interested audience. Studies show that people mimic what they see and hear. It’s a form of social reciprocity. So, when you show interest in your audience, they in turn show interest in you.
Great speakers use lots of eye contact to connect with their audiences. They encourage questions and comments and ask thought-provoking rhetorical questions. When the room setup permits, move into and among the audience instead of isolating yourself at the front.
Presenters who share stories, examples, quotations, and other specifically tailored content (that addresses the groups needs and wants) capture the audience’s attention. And speakers who call on people in the room to interact with them as much as possible — “Hey, Grace, what are your thoughts on that?” — create a dialogue that makes people feel more attended to as a result.
Some speakers and presenters mingle with individuals before, during, and after their talk. If they know some of the people in the group, they use personal anecdotes about them or use friendly humor relating to them. Frequently seeking out a group’s opinions, reactions, and ideas helps you turn an otherwise passive audience into an active — and interactive — one and significantly increases the chances of your presentation breeding success.