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Engage Your Audience: First Things First, KNOW YOUR STUFF!

Posted by Shawn Cardinal on
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Have you ever attended a presentation where the speaker was just reading the bullets from the PowerPoint slides? Or maybe they just rambled on and on about the same simple idea or topic? You may have felt like saying, “Tell me something I don’t know,” or “I can read slides, why didn’t you just send them to me?” Over the years, I’ve recognized that when a speaker doesn’t feel really confident about the subject matter, it’s easy for them to slip into a comfort zone to just get through the presentation. Often times it’ll sound monotone, lifeless and boring.

When presenting, whether on a webinar or in person, in order to sound confident and engaging: Learn it, Live it, Love it.

Learn it: Understand the topic and identify the underlying message you want to deliver (what your webinar audience needs) and know every single nuance about it. Don’t let the audience stump or intimidate you. You have to be adept at smoothly talking slightly off-topic and be able to come back to center. If you do get stumped, don’t ramble on with a non-answer; get the answer, add it to your follow up messaging.

Live it (aka Practice!!!!): Of course you can practice in front of a mirror and that works. But, I think a better way to get your material down is to talk about it with your peers, colleagues, friends, etc. Get comfortable delivering the webinar content and underlying message with a smooth conversational flow. Pretend you are at a social gathering and this topics just happens to be something that comes up in the conversation. Learn how to cohesively transition from one idea to another while making your point clear.

From a remote presentation standpoint, you have another variable – the web conferencing software. They best way to feel fully prepares is to practice just the presentation material, then practice using the web conferencing software and then practice with both together. Do that several times.

Love it: “Do what you love, love what you do,” or at least fake it for the duration of your webinar. When you know your material and have enthusiasm for the presentation, you will naturally be in the moment and enjoying delivering the message, which engages the audience. If you do need to fake it, at least try make it sound sincere. Don’t overdo it or there’s a chance you’ll sound like an infomercial.

How do you prepare to engage the audience? What tips would you recommend?

 

Shawn Cardinal is ReadyTalk’s training guru. He’s hosted hundreds of webinars and train customers (and employees) on best practices for hosting polished webinars and engaging audiences. When he’s not on a webinar, you’ll likely find him spending time with his family, off-roading, or taking photos.


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