True or False: Connect with a tired audience by admitting you’re exhausted.
False: No matter how tired or disinterested your audience seems, they are your guests and it is up to you to engage them in the conversation.
True or False: Relate to an unenthusiastic audience by acknowledging their reluctance and assuring them you will be fast so they can “get back to work”.
False: If you validate their reluctance, you’re finished before you’ve begun. It is important that you do your homework so that you understand the needs of the audience and are not caught off guard by their adverse attitudes. Your audience is counting on you to connect, share relevant information, and make it time well spent.
As a presenter it is your job to convey information to your audience, as well as to engage, connect and inspire them. Fulfilling this tall order starts from the moment you walk into the room, being mindful of both what you say and what you do. Your body language and your first words as you greet your listeners all contribute to setting a tone of positive & confident energy.
Here are a few more tips guaranteed to set the tone for success:
- Smile right away. Smile often. It will put you at ease and build rapport, making your audience more receptive.
- Begin your presentation with something that grabs the audience’s attention and makes them want to hear more.
- Never complain. Don’t admit to being tired or jet-lagged. These can sound like excuses no matter how you frame them. Instead, focus on your message and connecting with the audience.
- When you have to talk about an issue or concern, be prepared to offer an actionable solution. Take care not to offend the audience by implying that they caused the problem you are trying to solve.
- No need to apologize for minor errors or glitches. Bringing attention to something minor only highlights it. In many cases, your listeners didn’t even notice it, or they have already dismissed it. It’s often better to just carry on, keeping your focus on what you’re doing. The audience will usually follow your lead.
- Don’t apologize for being nervous. Your audience may not even notice you’re nervous, and there is no need to bring it to their attention. Focus on giving the audience something valuable and staying positive, and you just might forget you were ever nervous in the first place.
Projecting confidence and setting a positive tone from the start can make a big impact on the success of your presentation. Remember, this is your job too!