ENGAGE Issue 146
Thursday 18th October 2018.
by Rachel Green, Director, The Emotional Intelligence Institute www.theEIinstitute.com
Welcome to this week’s Engage newsletter. I hope your week is going well. A big welcome to our latest subscribers from Canada and the USA. So pleased you have joined us.
It is such a delight to come across a good speaker. I had that opportunity on Friday night when a PhD student from the University of Western Australia talked about her research in carnivorous plants. Her name was Laura Skates. She engaged everyone – of all ages and all backgrounds. My wish is that all can do the same.
How not to bore an audience
Have you here been to a presentation and been bored? I certainly have. If we are speaking in public isn’t it an insult to our audiences if we send them to sleep? Instead, presenters need to help the audience feel engaged not feel bored – two very different emotions. Our job as presenters is to fire-up our audiences with enthusiasm for our topics. If we are not enthusiastic, interested or engaged with our topics we might as well be at home having a bath! Too often presenters provide a mediocre standard of public speaking. It’s not good enough.
Here are 7 key ways to avoid boring an audience.
Public speaking tip 1: Don’t bore your audience by being flat.
It can be hard to have to keep presenting the same material but this is no excuse for being boring. Even if you know the topic off by heart, it may be the first time this audience has ever heard it. You need to have spark and passion for your subject matter otherwise you are doing your topic, your skills and your audience a disservice. Get your spark going. Ignite your passion. Be interested!
If you want to develop better skills in audience engagement join our public speaking development program with three sessions of 1-1, personalised public speaking development for you. Go here to find out more. It is offered via Skype or Face-to-face in Kelmscott WA. I love the opportunity technology brings – I am currently coaching someone in Houston Texas and someone else in Melbourne Australia! And loving it!
Public speaking tip 2: Don’t ignore your audience.
Time and time again I have seen presenters and public speakers reading their notes. This means there is a disconnect between the presenter and the audience. While you are looking down and reading your notes you are not looking at the audience. You need to engage with your audience if you want them to engage with you. Look at them when you speak to them. Do not speak to your notes or to your projector screen. Speak to your audience and eyeball them!
Public speaking tip 3: Don’t be in a hurry to get off.
Have you ever just wanted your speech to be over with? This can mean you rush and lose the rhythm that brings a speech alive. Stop! if this is you. Stop! Instead, feel the privilege of having the opportunity to talk to an audience. They are giving you their time, therefore give them yours. It can be very unsettling for an audience to have to join your race. Instead, measure your pace.
Public speaking tip 4: Avoid tiny print.
Have you ever shown a Power-Point slide that is too small for your audience to read easily? Unreadable slides detract from your message and leave your audience frustrated. If this occurs repeatedly their frustration leads to switch-off. Check your Power-Points. Are they easy to read at the back of the room? If not, fix them, even if it means you need to break up the information and distribute it over more slides. There is no numbers limit on how many slides to show providing they are all clear and catchy. There is a numbers limit on slides with print that is too small though. It’s zero
Public speaking tip 5: Stop the preamble.
Do not waste the audience’s time by waffling on, or taking too long to get into your topic. It is easy to switch off the audience at the very beginning by having a very slow, low-impact start. For example, I often see presenters who having been introduced by their master of ceremonies, go and introduce themselves again. Instead, use your first few words and sentences to grab the audience’s attention, to gain their interest in your topic and to arouse their energy, curiosity and active involvement in the topic. Kick start the energy and lift the audience up from the very beginning. If you’ve bored them at the start there is even more work for you in lifting them back up. Don’t bore, it’s a chore.
Public speaking tip 6: Don’t use Power-Points as speech notes.
There is nothing wrong with Power-Points. They can be a brilliant way to engage an audience. However, there is a lot wrong with bad, boring Power-Points. Power-Points were never designed to be a series of bullet points, i.e. your speech notes. They were designed to visually display your key-points in a high impact and visually retentive way for the audience. Design brilliant Power-Points for your audience.
Public speaking tip 7: Finish on time.
I don’t care how much more you have to say, finish on time. Even if you think you are brilliant and the audience is loving you, finish on time. Once a speaker goes over time an audience starts to get restless, they want to go to the toilet, or meet their prior obligations, or have a drink … you name it. It is only your own ego that keeps you going. Stop! Conclude. Finish. Get off. If you’ve been brilliant leave them wanting more and get invited back.
Thanks to John Ingram – our resident joke provider!
The Aussie Pen
Bluey says to Bruce, “I found this pen. Is it yours?”.
Bruce replies, “I don’t know, give it here”.
He then tries it and says “Yes it is”.
Bluey asks Bruce, “How do you know”.
Bruce replies, “That’s my handwriting”.
If you are presenting to an audience this week be kind to them and inspire them with your message, then everyone leaves feeling good! If you want to improve your skills – as your career may depend on it – book the 1-1 public speaking development package now and be at your absolute best.