Give the audience what they want
What is it that the audience wants to know from you? In creating your presentation, leave out the ideas that are only of interest to you yet don’t mean as much for the audience.
Create an open mind for your topic among your audience. Why is this topic of interest to your audience? Avoid introducing your presentation with a context analysis, only to wait until the very end to share your core message. People will have long lost interest. First introduce the main idea that is of interest to your audience and only then continue with the details.
Your presentation pitch is the key to drawing the audience’s attention. Instead of setting out with ‘Good afternoon, my name is … and I will be talking to you about…’, which will kill anyone’s motivation in seconds, let the audience first find out why this will be worth tuning in to. Which question will this presentation offer an answer to? How will this benefit the audience? Once that is out of the way, introduce yourself and share your link to the presentation’s topic.
Tell a story
People best remember stories. A good story is remarkably more efficient than a board filled with facts & figures. What do you as an organization or person stand for? Do you also really believe in what you do? Use real and personal stories to illustrate your point.
Be authentic and enthusiastic
Why should your audience believe you if you don’t believe your own words? Don’t give the audience an information-spewing robot, but instead present to them a person passionate about his cause.
The audience should be connecting with you as a speaker. Do not hesitate sharing a personal anecdote. And above all, believe in your presentation.
Case study: Michael Braungart, Flushed away
How far should you go to draw the audience’s attention?
Imagine this: A presenter sitting on a chair in front of a full audience, making us believe this is his regular morning moment on the toilet. Pure genius, or over the top? This is Michael Braungart, a chemical scientist who claims we are in need of products that will not end up as waste, but instead be part of a biological cycle. Throughout his presentation, Braungart leads his audience from one surprise to the next, by providing unexpected links and striking examples. He points out how the earth’s population of ants is four times the human population. Yet, contrary to humans, ants do not create waste. Human materials need to be reinvented.
So, perhaps you wouldn’t want to go as far as Braungart in drawing your audience’s attention. But don’t forget that to make a difference, you may need to step out of your comfort zone.
Watch the presentation on TED.com