A big part of what we do when we speak publicly is develop a relationship with our audience. A relationship based on trust, respect, information, and interaction! Sure a speech has mostly been defined as one person talking and other people listening. But it always takes two to tango… you know. You AND your audience have a part to play in this engagement.
As anyone who has ever needed to impart information knows, you need to get through to your audience to make an impact on them. Without engagement, a willing state of being attentive, effective communication is not possible.
Engaging your audience step 1: Observe
Start by putting the spotlight on your audience. What do the objects of your attention look like today? What’s the vibe in the audience? Is it just after lunch? End of the day? Are they tired, bored, or snoring?
It’s important to be aware of what you’re audience is feeling at that moment, so that you know what to do next.
Engaging your audience step 2: Activate
Get active. Utilize activities that promote audience engagement.
- Make your points into an audience debate. Nothing arouses interest more than controversy.
- Small groups activities will not only keep your audience awake but they’ll get excited about their “part”
- Give them a task and have the small groups report to the whole group.
Engaging your audience step 3: Change it up
Make sure you embrace many changes throughout your presentation. There is a 10 minute limit to the average attention span, so change it up… often.
- Moving around the room if possible will provide a fresh perspective to both you and your message.
- Change your tone of voice and speaking volume, remember no one likes a robot.
- Introduce an astonishing video or powerful story to add texture to your talk. Find more than one way to “speak” your message.
Engaging your audience step 4: Believe
You provide more of an impact than you realize. Remember…
- You are the expert at your topic.
- You can keep a speech interesting if you just put a little enthusiasm into the preparation and delivery.
- Doing something to engage your audience helps them to learn… so don’t be embarrassed, try something unexpected!
- An audience loves to connect with their speaker, so give them the chance by being open to them.