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Archive for ‘Audience Interaction’

Use With Care: Audience Quick-Engagement Activities That Can Go Wrong

By Claudia W. Brogan

“Raise your hand if…” or “Turn to your neighbor and tell them….” These are the kind of words that can strike fear in the hearts of some audience members, while speakers may think they’re the most normal, invitational words in the world.

Cautionary tales show up as groans come from audience members when a speaker says these words. Activities or brief involvement questions can be very potent tools when used well; activities done without careful thought or intention can deflate the balloon of a good presentation in no time.

Just like any …

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It’s Complicated: Getting from Intellect to Impact!

By Pam Leinmiller

The challenge is the same for each of us. We do our research. We document our source material. We have the facts surrounding the points we want to make in our presentation. The problem is that this is all very complicated. Our research is complicated, our source material is complicated, and the facts are complicated. The challenge is how can we make the intellectual material into a presentation impact the audience?

This is exactly the situation I was presented with while coaching a TEDx speaker last year. He is brilliant and …

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Does Eye Contact Really Work?

 

By Mark Kretschmar

There’s a problem with the way most presenters do eye contact. But first, let’s look at what’s going right.

We’ve all endured enough presentations void of eye contact. (You know you have an engineer’s attention “when they are looking at your shoes instead of at their own.”) Well, I’m glad to say that’s an exaggeration.

Getting speakers to look at the audience members’ faces is a huge step in the right direction. Eye contact is good. Always. But it can be great. A major reason eye contact is emphasized in public …

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3 Types of Feedback for Speakers

By Bob Goodyear

Feedback is an interesting word and for a speaker it can be good or bad. If we’re using a sound system, feedback is bad. Audience feedback however can be good, but it depends on what we do with it. Let’s talk about the 3 different kinds of audience feedback that affect us as speakers. Two of the types we know but the third is maybe the most important.
Positive Feedback
When we finish a speech, many times we meet with members of the audience and hear what a great job we …

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Let ’em Laugh

by Bob Goodyear

When making a presentation, have you ever said something that made the audience laugh? Was it planned? Did it catch you off guard? What did you do? Did you continue speaking as though nothing different had happened? Sometimes handling a laugh is very difficult for a speaker. Let’s talk about this for a moment.

Recently I had the opportunity to listen to a few speeches given in a college business presentation class. The presenters were asked to talk about a personal experience. All of the speeches were good and each …

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Don’t Present On a Topic

By Mark Kretschmar

You learned it in college; you may have learned it in high school: Select a topic of interest to the audience for your presentation. This rule isn’t so much “wrong” as it is distracting. Of course you should be speaking of something which interests the audience. Where this rule gets in the way, like most rules, is the implications and ramifications of its assumptions.

When an “interesting topic” becomes the driving force behind your presentation, you feel you have everything you need and you forget the Presentation Prime Directive: Make your …

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Have a Planned Question for Your Silent Q&A

By Bob Goodyear

Have you ever asked, “Do you have any questions” during your presentation and received no response from the audience? How did that feel? How long did you wait before moving on?

As a technical presenter, it is expected to have a Q&A period during your presentation. However, having no one raise their hand to ask a question is one of the most uncomfortable feelings I’ve ever experienced in my years of presenting. I tried all kinds of methods to handle this. I would many times laugh it off with a …

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Energize a Cold Audience

By Tom Nixon

Many times a speaker, through no fault of their own, steps to the front of the room and faces a cold audience. It could be the time of day, the meal before or after the session, the previous speaker, an organization-wide situation, or even the temperature, setup, and/or lighting of the room. It could be anything. The energy and the expectations are bottomed out. You may well have to struggle to get the power level up.

A presenter can use a number of techniques to open their time and energize …

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Avoiding the Pitfalls of Group Exercises for Speakers

By Claudia W. Brogan

Recently a budding speaker asked me to attend a speech she was delivering and provide feedback for her, with suggestions for improvement. Maggie opened her speech with an intriguing quotation, captured the attention of the audience and proceeded to deliver three excellent learning tips.

Midway through the presentation, though, I watched as Maggie asked—without much instruction or introduction—that her audience members move into groups of four to complete a worksheet of questions. What I saw happen in the room was a bit of a chill: audience members shifted from …

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Begin With a Bang

By Bob Goodyear

Coming up with a good presentation opening is difficult. Because of that, many times the presenter will just default to an opening that sounds something like this.

“Hello. My name is Joe Presenter. Thank you for inviting me here. I appreciate the time you are giving to me to speak. I hope what I have to say will be interesting to you. Today I’m going to tell you about the 93 great features of my product.”

How many times have you heard an introduction like that? How many times …

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