Dear Reader, welcome to the next installment of the vlog/blog series from the Public Speaking Academy! The majority of you, if not all of you, would have at least experienced this scenario as an audience member for a very long presentation. You have a coffee cup in one hand and a pack of mints in another, and you’re getting ready to stay awake for the rest of the presentation. Now imagine that you are a presenter, the Speaker. Your challenge is to be interesting and attention-grabbing.
First, introduction is key within the first few minutes of your speech or your presentation the audience start to assess whether your speech is something valuable and something that they should be paying attention to. I believe that meaningful engagement with your audience members is something that will help to create a very strong rapport from the get go, a very strong entrance. So for example, you can play around with your audience expectations if I’m giving a speech – for example I may say every one of you here find insects disgusting but do you know that there’s one of you would’ve at least consumed one type of insect in your life now what I did was I start with a very uncontroversial premise which is everyone finds insects disgusting and then I intertwined it with the purposes of my speech as well so there’s something you can try and do to engage your audience from the start all the way to the end.
Second one of the common traits of engaging speakers that I’ve noticed so far is that they have the ability to engage, provoke and encourage the audience to think about the points that they are talking about in their speeches themselves; and a very strong tool for this is something called rhetorical questions.
Rhetorical questions are not questions they are looking to find answer from the audience but really is to elicit a response from them, so for example, if I’m giving an inspirational speech about the first time I had to perform in a musical ladies and gentlemen my teacher announced my name but I stood rooted to the ground, refusing to move.
I heard my name one more time but I refuse to step into the spotlight – “how many of you have been in that situation before?”
Now, the purpose of my question is not to elicit a yes or no answer from the audience but for them to place themselves in my shoes and to think through their experiences and realize that oh this is something that has happened to me before and this is something that I want to learn to overcome, and with that, comes a realization that your presentation is relevant and it is worth their attention from the start all the way to the end.
So, always remember that we can using rhetorical questions – add pauses for emphasis and for some time for your audience to digest the question and come to the realization. Now, the final point – it doesn’t hurt to pepper your speeches of different stories so some stories like personal anecdotes for example will show sincerity from the speaker or even stories that show your passion, your achievement, your extensive experience – there is something that will entertain and engage your audience from the start all the way to the end don’t scrimp and save on the details. Add as much details as you can in your story so that your audience is engaged from the start till the end.
Finally, just remember to keep everything simple as your audience don’t like something that is complicated or very complex to remember – no one likes a very complicated treasure map to the final treasure! With that, I’ve come to the end of today’s PSA vlog/ blog series I hope to catch you in the next episode!
Sample killer introductions that you can use – WATCH: “How To Start Your Speech or Presentation | 4 Effective Tips To Hook The Audience!”
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