How to Captivate Your Audience
Public speaking is all about performance, whether this is on an auditorium stage, in a small room or a huge arena. Holding the attention of your audience throughout your presentation or speech is an area well documented in any public speaking course. Once youve learned how to prepare your notes, conquered your fear of public speaking and brushed up your presentation skills, tips on great ways to captivate your audience is the all-important next step!
Instantly gain your audiences interest by using an attention-grabbing opener. The nature of this obviously depends on the type of public speaking event youre attending, so do consider whether using a joke is appropriate! Starting with a question or a controversial opening statement will often have a dramatic effect.
ACKNOWLEDGE YOUR AUDIENCE
Let your audience know that you care about the fact that they given up their precious time to listen to your speech. Many speakers try to block out the people present in the room, sometimes to try to help control their fear of public speaking or because they want to concentrate on their notes. You have to remember that your audience are the reason youre there in the first place! Youll win over your listeners a whole lot quicker if you acknowledge their presence, interact with them by asking or answering questions; even just by making eye contact with a few people can make a big difference in your public speaking performance.
NOTES AND VISUAL AIDS
Most people prefer to have some notes handy for public speaking events, and you may prefer to use slides, Powerpoint or other visual aids. These can be very useful, but be careful not to focus on them too much or you may be in danger of losing the connection with your audience.
PERSONALITY AND EXPRESSION
Dont be afraid to let your personality come across at a public speaking event. Unless you think you have potential as an Oscar winner, your audience will see right through any attempt at amateur acting. Be yourself; youll gain a lot more respect from the people youre addressing. Although public speaking is a performance to some extent, its your personality and your material that will make it interesting.
WORKING THE ROOM
While its not a good idea to fidget or nervously fiddle with your notes, moving around the room can really help you to connect with your audience. By simply walking forward to the front of the stage or towards the nearest row of people to emphasis an important point, you can certainly make a powerful impact in public speaking.
LEAVE A LASTING IMPRESSION
Finish off your speech with a wow factor. Public speaking is not only about getting your point across, the impact you make depends on people remembering you and the important or entertaining content of your speech. Leave a lasting impression on your audience by closing with an interesting or unusual fact, a final question for them to ponder over or a funny comment if the situation allows!
Shawna Johnson is a Speaker, Global Trainer and Resiliency Expert. To pick up Shawna’s Marketing Guide or to learn about her Speaker Bootcamp, visit her online today. For a customized roadmap for your audience, schedule your complimentary, no obligation consultation today.