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How to involve the audience in your presentation

By Charles Hopkins Published 06/24/2006 | Self Improvement

Did you know that the word, glossophobia has nothing to do with lip-gloss but it refers to the fear of public speaking? Yes, there seem to be many unknown aspects related to public speaking that the common people like you and me are unaware of, yet we admire a dynamic speaker and secretly wish to become as smart and charismatic like him or her. Another little known fact about public speaking is that you are not born as an orator; anybody can become a successful speaker if he or she takes the trouble of learning the basic nuances of public speaking. Public speaking is not a kind of performing art, it is rather an art of communication, a communication that you have to enter into within a short span of time. How communicative you are as a speaker is judged by how well you connect to the audience and make them absorb into what you are saying.

There are various techniques how you can capture the attention of your audience and make them get involved what you are saying.

The first important trick of a public speaking is knowing your audience well. Audience is not an abstract object, it a crowd of individuals who already have interest on your subject and they want to know more about it. Now there are many people who are otherwise talkative, but get nervous at the very thought of delivering a speech before the audience comprising a group of individuals. Do you know what the experts say? They say that it is much harder to handle an individual than handling a large audience. Surprised? You better not to; only learn about the simple tricks of audience management described below.

The first trick is: do a thorough research about the audience.

You will never find similar audience the second time, at a different place. Each audience has its unique characteristics and you have to be tricky enough to discover what is unique in a particular audience. Make a research to find out the men-women ratio in the audience, the average age of the individual gathered to listen to your speech. Also consider how much open they may be in sharing your opinion on the subject. Also try to find out the level of their familiarity with the subject you are going to speak on. After you are well informed of the basic traits of your audience, get prepared accordingly to face that specific audience. The basic information on your audience will make you more confident when you take the podium.

Customize the style and use of words according to the type of the audience.

Always speak the language of the audience. If you are presenting a subject in a way that seems complex to the audience, your whole efforts are wasted. On the other hand, if your speech seems to be too simple for a more erudite circle, your views will not be taken seriously.

Suppose you are out on an assignment to deliver a short lecture before the students of high school on computer and software. You can use many advanced terms and jargons along with an emphasis on their programming aspects that the high school boys are accustomed to. It will interest them. But suppose you are invited to speak on the same topic before the students of elementary school, then you have to use a much simplified language, avoiding the technical terms and explaining to them the beneficial aspects of the software rather than discussing with them about their development aspects.

Then your body language should be much different in the two above described places. Before small kids, you have to maintain a warm and cheery get up. On the other hand, in the high school your approach should be totally formal, yet accessible.

Always maintain eye contact.

When you are speaking, try to see in the eyes of the audience as far as possible. There can be no better way of connecting to your audience than through making an eye contact. So do not engross only on the notes you have made, it is a good idea to see straight in the eyes of the audience for a better coordination.

Audience Participation is an important aspect.

Your credibility as a public speaker heightens as you invite your audience to participate in the presentation. You may ask them to raise their hands in response to certain question, or assign them on some tasks like filling up of a simple form and so on. Nothing excites the audience more if you invite some of them in the stage. It raises the tempo of the audience for the simple reason that they want to see what the speaker will do to one of them. In their subconscious mind they start preparing themselves in case they are also called upon the stage and pay utmost attention to get your point.