During a presentation, your audience may slowly begin to get bored and stop listening to you. The attendees may get their phones out and start to chat underneath the table, start slouching and tapping their feet instead of leaning forward and nodding as you present your points. Worse still, they may start to whisper to each other.
As a speaker, you may feel disappointed as you try to convey important information, yet your audience is slowly losing interest. In such a situation, the only way out is to find a way of managing your emotions and theirs and reengage with them.
The article will tell you how you can gain control of your audience, which ranges from new employees joining the organization to corporate boardroom meetings to a nonprofit fundraiser to a seminar or conference.
Managing Your Emotions in a Presentation
The first step is to have a personal connection with your audience because this will help you to show emotion and prove that you’re an authentic, genuine person. The shared feelings and emotions will greatly help you during the presentation.
Still, it’s important to realize that showing emotions is different from being overwhelmed by emotions.
You show emotions by:
- Smiling as you highlight an accomplishment you’re greatly proud of
- Speaking passionately about something you care about
- Speaking softly when reflecting on a personal loss
You’re overwhelmed by emotions when you:
- You get flustered to the extent of losing the main message of your presentation.
Still, you can show emotions without getting overwhelmed by them in the following ways.
Understand your audience: Ask yourself who is your audience, your goal and why you care about the subject. Caring about the subject will help you have the right emotions when connecting with your subject.
Consider the appropriate emotions around your audience: As much as you want to push the boundaries, you should avoid going too far. You can achieve this by rehearsing with someone else prior to the presentation. Further, you can choose a different anecdote instead of your story that overwhelm you with emotions to make the same point. Such a story will draw less emotion.
Get back on track: Avoiding emotions altogether in your presentation may be impossible. So look for ways of getting back when overwhelmed, such as pausing and breathing, sipping water, and adding the emotional story at the end of your presentation to avoid exiting the scene without completing your speech or presentation.
Gaining Control of Your Audience
The following are physical techniques of snapping your listeners back to attention.
Stand on a different side of the stage: Some new presenters prefer to deliver their presentation from behind the podium rather than the standard stage setup become it makes them feel less exposed.
However, shifting to the opposite side of the stage will get you closer to your attendees. You may also consider moving around the room, which will keep their eyes on as they try to guess the next place you will go.
Vary the pace of your remarks: Avoid speaking in monotone but instead speed up or slow down when delivering your speech. Avoid using the same speech rate throughout the presentation. Your audience will always take note when you change the speed and focus on the material being delivered.
Pausing: Lower your voice when you want the audience to focus on a particular point. For instance, pausing in silence or lowering it to a near-whisper will move your participants to focus intently or be curious to hear the conclusion. The suspense will help them anticipate your answer.
Introduce an analogy or story to illustrate your point: Your audience may get bored by your dry or technical presentation. For instance, an engineering department presentation is highly detailed for a leadership team. So use a real-world parallel when explaining a particular point.
The goal of influential speakers is to ensure that their audience is actually paying attention to their content. They want to educate, inform and inspire people, and they can only achieve that by capturing their attention and reengaging with them where necessary.
The post has shown you how to tap into your audience’s emotions and connect with them. This will help you feel comfortable showing emotions when giving a presentation or speech and avoid being overwhelmed by emotions.