Whether you’re speaking in front of an audience of three or three hundred, getting your message across requires more than just speaking your mind. Even if you have a captive audience physically present in the room, it’s easy for them to tune you out if they get bored or become uninterested in what you have to say.
One of the best ways to keep your audience’s attention is to be an effective speaker. Successful speakers provide online and classroom courses worth hundreds of dollars to train people in public speaking. However, before you consider paying for these courses, try these four tips to see if your presentations can improve significantly.
Interact with the Audience
In an era where everything is digital and information is right at your fingertips, new trends show that people’s attention spans are growing shorter. When you speak in front of an audience, most people will be willing to hear what you have to say. After a while, however, it becomes a chore for most people to continue listening, so more and more people will disengage and stop listening.
It’s a different story, however, when you interact and engage with your audience. If you have an hour to talk, don’t spend all those 60 minutes to drone on – you’ll be lucky to have one or two still listening by the time your speech ends. Instead, turn your spiel into a conversation: ask them questions, let them ask questions, be willing to adjust your presentation to their tastes, and get their input on some parts of your presentation.
Consider Hiring a Presentation Designer
Whichever presentation application you use, make your visual aid a good one. While most people may be familiar with Prezi or PowerPoint, not everyone can make an effective presentation that has the right balance. Remember, your presentation has to be eye-catching (but not so much that it outshines you), a quick read (so audiences won’t have to tune you out to process it), and effective. If you feel you cannot do this on your own, consider hiring a presentation designer.
Presentation design services ensure that you don’t lose your audiences’ attention through poor and substandard visual aids. According to a design agency in Dubai, these services take the data you want on your presentation, analyze the message you want to send, and then create a design that will capture your audience’s attention.
Sure, going DIY on your presentation is free, but if you’re looking to keep your audiences’ attention, hiring a professional to do it may be worth the investment.
Speak Naturally and with Confidence
Who would you rather listen to: a person who says a few filler words now and then, but speaks as though they are speaking in a casual conversation; or someone who says the same thing but with a robotic and monotonous voice?
Audiences prefer listening to someone they can connect with, even if that person may have a few stutters in their speech. In fact, sounding like someone who is too perfect is less likely to engage their audience because they sound too rehearsed.
Speaking with confidence, on the other hand, makes you more believable. Again, a few stutters and filler words are acceptable, but too much and your audience may mistake your nervousness for lack of preparation, or lack of knowledge in what you’re talking about. On the other hand, confident speakers seem more intelligent, credible, and likable.
Keep It Short
The average attention span of an audience has been highly debated: some claim that you have only seven minutes (up to 10 minutes, if your topic is fascinating) before you lose their attention, while others claim that speakers can hold it for as long as 20 minutes. Regardless of how long it really is, speakers agree that the best spiels are short and simple.
Unless you’re one of the rare few with the gift of gab, nobody will want to listen to you droning on indefinitely. Most speaking events will set a time limit, but if there isn’t, it’s always best to keep it short. Your whole speech should have a maximum of three points, make sure the build-up to the meat of your presentation isn’t too long, and don’t overload your presentation with data your audience cannot remember.
These four steps can help you with any speaking event in the future. Whether you’re defending your thesis, giving the latest report in the office, or presenting an idea to a large crowd, there is always some room to improve. The way you get your message across by ensuring most of your audience will pay attention for as long as possible is the key to ensuring that your speaking event is a success.