Every presenter wants to connect with the audience. It can be quite hard, in some cases. Not all audiences are the same. Some of them might need convincing. Wouldn’t it be great if your audience would just listen to each and every word you had to say? Yes, it's possible. There are a few ways to connect to your audience. But before that, you need to ask yourself these questions.
Who is my audience?
It's one of the most crucial questions to answer before a presentation. You must know your audience, and only then can you establish a mutual ground and fulfill the purpose of your presentation.
Age, culture, and profession are all factors you need to consider to analyze your audience. Another essential part is the formality of the presentation. A formal presentation to an informal audience is probably as dull as it gets. Always see that you fit the needs of your actual audience.
What does your audience already know?
To engage with your audience, you need to be aware of their knowledge of your specific topic. Many people stop paying attention when the presenter talks about things that they already know, or even worse, something that they do not understand at all. The more you know about your audience, the better you can plan your presentation and keep it engaging for that particular group.
What are their expectations from the presentations?
If you want to meet the needs of your audience, you need to know their expectations. Are they here to get inspired? Or learn something? Whatever is the purpose, if you know what they expect from you, you'll be able to tailor your talk and make it more appealing.
Once you know your audience, you can use these simple steps to engage with them.
Respond to what you see
If you focus only on your words and slides, you will lose the connection with your audience. A good presenter must be aware of everything that happens in the room at all times. Are people paying attention, are they engaged or are they bored? And who appears to agree or disagree with you? If you feel the room agrees or doesn't agree, for example, act on it. Tell them, "I see some people disagreeing, that's fine, but this is why I feel like this..." The fact that you are responding to their movements shows you care. And caring means you are engaging with your audience
Look at people a bit longer
It’s general advice for presenters: “Look to all around the room and focus on some people.” Great advice, but you need to be careful with this. If you ‘glance’ over the audience too much, they will feel ignored. They think you don’t ‘see’ them. What you want is a real bond. It means looking people in the eye. In fact, look at some people a bit longer. Not too long, it becomes disturbing, but long enough to get the connection. Get a smile even. It will bring you closer.
This is one of the essential parts of your presentation. You have to make your presentation personal. People connect with you, not with the presentation. So as soon as you can make a part of the presentation personal, you will get closer to connecting with the audience. This doesn’t mean you have to keep narrating tales about yourself. It does mean you want to link the content of the presentation to your personality. Show the link between you and what you are trying to get across. People will like you and your presentation better.
Compliment the audience
Finally, you have to compliment the audience. Tell them how great they are. There are many parts in the presentation where you can do this. At the beginning, you can make a compliment about the business that you are presenting. And at the end of the talk, you can say you enjoyed their company or something like that. A compliment can do many things!
Relate to what they already know
If you discuss things that people can't relate to, you make it difficult for them. It's just like you are speaking to them in a foreign language. It makes them feel left out. You don't want people feeling left out. Even when you are talking about complex topics, you might want to sometimes bring it back to basics. The best way of doing that is to connect to things people already know. If you refer to what people already know, they'll understand better, and they will connect with you quickly.
Tell a story
There are many ways of engaging with your audience. The one crucial thing to keep in mind is that it has to be about the audience. They must be able to identify themselves. The best way of doing that is by telling a story. People love stories. When we hear a story, we listen better. We remember more. This is why storytelling is such a valuable tool. And this is why storytelling needs to be part of any presentation that you do.
The economics of production and consumption, demand and supply is based on much research about the target audience. Knowing your audience is crucial for consistent success. Same goes with a presentation which is of crucial importance for further engagement. This write-up elucidates some points to be borne in mind while making a presentation. Plain eloquence is not enough. Your body language, observation, your ability to address the elephant in the room in a nonchalant manner and finally displaying gratitude to your audience for lending their ears are essential ingredients which go into the making of an impressive and fruitful presentation.