Why should the audience listen to you?

January 28, 2011


You have prepared a good presentation. Let’s go through the checklist once again. It is simple. It does not have too many slides. Slides are not text- heavy. The information included in slides is from the credible source and is up-to-date. Audience often likes to know the source, so better mention the source in the slide. The font size is such that slides are readable to all even those sitting at the far end. The colour scheme is nice and soothing and the text stand outs even when the lights are dim. 

 Now, you are set to deliver it.  Here are some tips:

  •  As I wrote earlier, ask yourself why should the audience listen to you?   Answer to this question will help you prepare well. I would offer only one advice. Stick to the areas of your core competence. Think and bring out your experience and share your perspective. Audience likes to hear practical examples and experiences.
  • Catch and retain the attention of the audience:   How you begin is extremely important. Your first slide or first few sentences are critical. A relevant question, story /anecdote, or an experience is always welcome.  Read the body language of your audience throughout and keep gauging if they are still with you.
  •  Keep eye contact with your audience throughout. Usually, audience first looks at you, then at your slide and then again at you and so on. Your own body language, tone of voice, content of your speech, will attract them to keep looking at you.
  •  Reach the venue earlier. Put your presentation in the system that is being used and check that if it works fine. Check out the audio system and learn to use the microphone that is available. Nothing can be worse than the situation that you start speaking and audio does not work or your presentation does not appear on the screen. My suggestion is that do not presume anything. Check it yourself because if it does not work embarrassment is only yours. However, it is also true that despite all such precautions, mishaps do happen occasionally. So be patient and be prepared to speak anyway. It is always useful to know your content and carry a printed copy of the presentation.          
  •  Finally, never go beyond your allotted time. A good speaker is the one who stops when audience still wants to listen.