There are so many ways to engage and interact with your audience…so let me give you a few ideas on how to make your presentation better.
Before you start thinking about all kinds of ideas for making a presentation engaging, you have to understand what engagement really means.
…Engagement isn’t physical, it’s mental.
When someone is engaged, they’re entire focus is on that one thing.
They’re not thinking about what to eat later, they’re not wondering if they have any texts, they’re not doing anything…except paying attention to you. So engagement is all about controlling someone’s attention…making them mentally fixated on you.
The first thing you have to do if you want to engage and interact with your audience is to make sure you’re a ‘showman.’
When you’re on stage, your presence has to be different than when you’re off stage.
Everything has to be bigger. You have to be bigger…bigger than life.
Your personality, your movements, your voice, everything has to scream… “I’M SOMEONE YOU WANT TO PAY ATTENTION TO.”
This is why someone like Michael Jackson can kill it on stage, and then when he’s off stage, he’s very quiet. It’s because he understands that when you’re on stage, you have to be larger than life.
But, you’re probably waiting for me to shut up and just give you tactics…so here you go:
Engagement starts before you ever get on stage.
The person who introduces you as a speaker can make or break your entire presentation because they’re the ones who pre-frame an audience. What do I mean by ‘pre-frame?’
Pre-framing is when you set the expectations of the audience.
If the person introducing your presentation says,
Our next speaker is a scam artist and I honestly wasn’t going to invite him but I was forced to. Please welcome…
The audience has been set up to expect the worse from you and that’s exactly what they’re going to see.
But if the introduction is something like,
Listen guys, the speaker coming up will blow your minds. I remember seeing this guy a month ago and I was so impressed that I contacted this guy every day until he said yes to come to our event.
….Well…now you’re golden.
Remember, engaging presentations comes down to how well you can control the minds of your audience…so start with a good introduction (by telling the person how to introduce you).
Walk Into The Audience:
When you walk into the audience, you naturally create a pattern interrupt because people are used to the speaker standing on stage the entire time.
As you can see in the picture, I’m walking out to bring a few people on stage with me (that’s why the guy’s hand is raised).
Physical engagement translates into mental engagement.
When you change it up physically (by getting people to turn as you walk out in the audience) then you re-engage them mentally.
So is there a part of your presentation where you can walk out into the audience?
Full Audience Participation:
If you can do a demonstration that involves your entire audience then you’re going to be several steps ahead of most speakers.
What you see in the picture is a small event where I’m involving everyone in a psychological demonstration. Everyone hides an object in their hand and I tell them which hand it’s in.
As a speaker, if you want to engage and interact with your audience then think of demonstrations you can do with your presentation.
Is there a something in your presentation that you can turn into a physical demonstration?
I remember a speaker who used an interesting demonstration involving money. Here’s what he did…
…He held up a $100 bill and said, “Who wants this?”
…Everyone raises their hands.
…He says it again… “Who WANTS this?”
…Once again, everyone raises their hands.
… “WHO WANTS THIS?”
And finally…someone understands him. A person walks on stage and grabs the $100 bill from him.
The speaker then says something like, “Listen, if you want something in life then you have to go get it. Don’t sit down and be passive…go after the things you want.”
How’s that for a demonstration!
All you have to do is be a little creative and you can come up with a demonstration you can use for your presentation.
Change The Pace:
This is something that very few speakers do…but if you do this, then you’re going to mentally hold your audience captive throughout your entire presentation.
If you’re delivering a presentation over 20 minutes then you have to change the pace.
Maybe you’re excited when you start, maybe you’re low-key, whatever it is, you have to change the pace.
If you normally talk fast, go REALLY slow at a certain point in your presentation. If you normally talk slow, then go fast.
Familiarity breeds contempt. So if your audience starts to expect what’s next then you’ve lost them.
In this picture, I change the pace of my entire presentation by slowing things down.
I bring two people on stage and I create ’10 seconds of silence.’ The entire room is silent…you can hear a pin drop. Then, without talking, I slowly walk over to one person (who’s eyes are closed)…and I do something that blows the audience away.
The demonstration I do isn’t the point. The point is how I change the pace.
Imagine you’re listening to a speaker and then…
It changes the pace of the presentation instantly.
As a speaker, you have to think of your presentation like you’re making a movie. If a movie has the same pace throughout the entire film then you’re going to lose interest. But since the movie has ups and downs, it constantly re-engages you.
The same goes for your presentation.
So at what points in your speech can you change the pace?
Do Unusual Things…With People:
Ok…not like that. Get your mind out of the gutter.
When you do unusual things, people pay attention.
At a certain point in my presentation, I have a group of people on stage and I have one person step out, then put their hand up in front of their face. I tell them to stare at their hand as I go into a demonstration.
Having someone stare at the palm of their hand is unusual.
And by doing this, I keep the audiences attention because it creates a small pattern interrupt in the presentation.
Here are some unusual things you can do:
- Have someone lick an envelope closed
- Tell someone to lay down on the stage
- Have someone close their eyes
- Take off a shoe
- …anything you can think of
There’s something I want to tell you…
…When you’re on stage making a presentation…people will do almost anything you tell them to.
I’m not kidding.
At your next presentation, ask someone who has a wallet to come up on stage. Then say, “Ok, hand me your wallet.” And I guarantee you they’re going to give it to you.
Normally, a stranger would never give you their wallet.
But when you’re a speaker on stage, people listen to you.
And since you know this, you can have people do strange things…as long as they make sense to your presentation.
Don’t tell someone to take off their shoe just because you can. It has to make sense. So maybe you’re talking about sales and you say that you can sell anything. Then you say, “Take off your shoe and watch me sell it for $100.”
Whatever unusual thing you do, it has to make sense to the audience.
Most speakers don’t know how to make their presentation engaging without making it cheesy.
There are lots of speakers out there who tell people to raise their hands, etc…and the audience is thinking, “Uh…not this again.”
…But the way you get around that is to make sure you have a sense of novelty…something they’ve never done before.
Ultimately, engaging and interacting with your audience during a presentation comes down to your creativity.
Nothing is off limits when it comes to making a presentation interactive.
You have to think like a showman, think big, think bells & whistles…and then you will have all kinds of ideas for making an engaging presentation.