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Wake Up Your Audience

Wake Up Your Audience

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Published by terrygault
Why do you make presentations? Is it your idea? An assignment? A necessity? Part of your job? Of course there must be a reason for each presentation: to sell...to educate...to motivate. But to what kind of audience? To your boss? To an audience of a thousand people? Or maybe to one very important client? (But aren’t all clients important?) How many of us would choose to stand up in front of people without a reason? Well, some might, but the majority of us would not. Speaking in public is listed as one of the top ten fears of most people. So not only is making a presentation potentially fearful, but once past that, you have to make it a good one for effective results. And a good presentation cannot be considered good if the audience is bored. So how do we get their attention? How do we wake them up?
Why do you make presentations? Is it your idea? An assignment? A necessity? Part of your job? Of course there must be a reason for each presentation: to sell...to educate...to motivate. But to what kind of audience? To your boss? To an audience of a thousand people? Or maybe to one very important client? (But aren’t all clients important?) How many of us would choose to stand up in front of people without a reason? Well, some might, but the majority of us would not. Speaking in public is listed as one of the top ten fears of most people. So not only is making a presentation potentially fearful, but once past that, you have to make it a good one for effective results. And a good presentation cannot be considered good if the audience is bored. So how do we get their attention? How do we wake them up?

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Published by: terrygault on Apr 14, 2008
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09/27/2012

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WAKE UP YOUR AUDIENCE
Why do you make presentations? Is it your idea? Anassignment? A necessity? Part of your job? Of coursethere must be a reason for each presentation: tosell...to educate...to motivate. But to what kind of audience? To your boss? To an audience of athousand people? Or maybe to one very importantclient? (But aren’t all clients important?) How manyof us would choose to stand up in front of peoplewithout a reason? Well, some might, but the majorityof us would not. Speaking in public is listed as one of the top ten fears of most people. So not only ismaking a presentation potentially fearful, but oncepast that, you have to make it a good one foreffective results. And a good presentation cannot beconsidered good if the audience is bored. So how dowe get their attention? How do we wake them up? The people seated in front of you may be mentallyslumbering in their chair before you’re halfwaythrough. If they think they know or even guess whatyou’re about to say, they lose focus, skip ahead, plantheir next client meeting or what they’re having forlunch. All of our minds in this fast-movingcontemporary society of ours are full of meaninglessand meaningful data. Your job is to get and to keepthe audience’s attention. To wake them up. Here aresome specific ways to do this as well as a fewcreative ideas.
MOVEMENT
 Take advantage of one of our natural humaninclinations: the DNA code that forces humans to pay
 
heed to any sharp movement within our field of vision. Imagine a grazing zebra when it spots thebuff-colored mane of a lion. Its sympathetic nervoussystem kicks in and the zebra starts to run. Theprimitive species that didn’t pay attention are gonefor good. This is not to suggest startling youraudience into stampeding out of the room. No, justactivate that DNA code with some sort of movement. You’re not a statue; don’t stand as still as one.Explore the full range of physical expressiveness.Move your entire body from one place to another,across the stage, standing up, bending over, spinningaround. Gesture with your hands, even feet? whileremaining in the same location. Increase the speed,range and variety of your movement; it creates animpression of vigor and excitement.
GESTURE
Gestures, a form of body language or non-verbalcommunication, are a major component of humanlife. In some societies, gestures are used to initiate amating ritual. Religious and spiritual gestures arealso commonly known, such as the Catholic sign of the cross. We communicate daily with all kinds of gestures; whether hailing a taxi or blowing a kiss, theuniversal meaning of many gestures is understoodquickly and accurately. As gestures are so easilyunderstood, in many cultures, what we do with ourhands may even replace words.Our instinct tells us to trust body language more thanwords. Early on we learn that body language oftencommunicates more honestly than words. Having a
 
serious conversation with someone whose arms arecrossed or whose eyes do not contact yours mightleave room for doubt about the speaker’s sincerity. If you as a speaker do not match your body languagewith your words, how much will the audience payattention and/or believe what you’re saying?We’ve all had this experience: You’re talking tosomeone about an important topic. How does theirmessage and/or conversation come across if duringan important point, they look away or yawn. What if they start shaking? Blush? Keep blinking as if to keepthemselves awake?As a speaker, it is imperative to match your wordswith your body. Lean forward to be sincere. Raiseyour arms to express joy. Pound on the podium tomake your point. Follow your own instincts and dowhat expresses your message the most.
STILLNESS
Often the most important movements can be itscomplete absence. Calm, powerful stillness.Unfocused movement such as rocking back andforth, shifting, repetitive hand gestures or fingerfidgeting decreases your power and credibility andcan distract the audience from your message. Whenyou’re not making a gesture or movement thatsupports your presentation, choose stillness. Whenyou can stand still in silence, with self-confidence,the audience interprets this as power and control. Just don’t do it for very long.
DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT

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