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Are You Presenting For Yourself or For Your Audience?

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presenting to audience

Let me ask you this: when you are preparing for a speech or presentation, what are you thinking of? Are you thinking of yourself and how to look amazing on the stage, or of your audience and how to repay the time they invest in listening to you?

Did I get your attention?

Most speakers are so focused on themselves, their content, their body language, their tone of voice, their appearance, and so on, that they actually forget about the most important aspect when presenting: their audience!

So here are 5 things to keep in mind when preparing for your next speech or presentation.

1. Have a holistic approach to your presentation, it’s something I call The 3P of Public Speaking: Plan / Produce / Perform.

Why are you presenting? Why is your audience going to remember your speech, your content, you?

How are you going to present? How are you going to keep your audience’s attention span high? How are you going to create content which will keep them interested? How are you going to repay them?

What are you going to talk about in order to achieve your goal: thanking your audience for the time, attention and energy they invested into listening to you and your story?

2. Make it interactive and emotionally impactful, it’s something I call The 3E of Public Speaking: Emotion / Engagement / Experience.

Because no matter your subject or content, it will always bring up some emotions in your audience’s mind. In short, your speech will ”stimulate” your audience’s amygdala (an almond-shaped section of nervous tissue located in the temporal (side) lobe of the brain), which is involved in many brain functions including emotion, learning and memory.

3. Be aware of your physical context, way before you are on the stage. 

For example: the size of the stage, how far you are from your audience, the screen you’re using, if you are using one, how comfortable the chairs in the audience are (if they are not feeling comfortable, their attention will constantly disconnect from your message).

4. Be aware of the cultural context.

different cultures understand things differently, therefore be careful about using humour for example (which is very culturally specific), or about jumping or screaming on the stage (which some cultures find energising, whilst others find it over the top), or about really making eye contact (it’s one thing to really look into your audience’s eyes and check how much are into your presentation or not, and something else to pretend you look them in the eyes just because).

5. Start again with whyOnce you checked all of the above, go back to asking yourself how relevant, exciting, new and interesting your presentation or speech are to your audience.

Your audience is respecting you by showing up, by listening to you, and by giving you their time, their energy, and their attention. How are you going to repay them?

 

About the author: Bogdan Manta is Senior Content Manager at MCI Amsterdam, specialised in corporate storytelling and concept design. He has 15 years of experience as an adviser in the areas of concept creation, content development, product launch and strategic engagement of key audiences. As a Certified Speaker Coach, Bogdan has also extensive experience advising C level executives on how to create engaging presentations and highly impactful speeches.

Whether you are looking for ways to uplift the overall experience, boost engagement or activate your audiences, MCI can help you achieve your goals. For more visit us here.

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