You Lost them !
Whether you are speaking face-to-face, or speaking to a remote audience on a phone conference, on a web or video conference; you know what it feels like when you have lost your audience. Once you lost them, you lost them, it’s very difficult to bring them back.
What is your objective? Do you know what your audience wants from you?
I am guessing you lost them because you lost your focus without a clear-cut objective for the group your addressing. But, more importantly, you have not determined what that group wants from you. You may have taken time to prepare talking points, but if you have not addressed the needs and interests of your audience, you lost them.
What is the driving force of your message?
Start with a clear objective, while understanding your audience, and what they want from the Presentation. Otherwise, you are swimming against the current and going nowhere. Once your objective is set with your audience in mind, you are ready to add the next major ingredient to a compelling presentation- the right approach. An approach, is the root idea, the driving force, strategy, focus in a single thought or sentence that will get you to your objective.
Take the time in your preparation to ask yourself questions and answer them in single sentences.
What am I talking about? What’s at the heart of what I will say? What is the single best statement that will lead me to what I want? Can I build a case around this statement? Will this relate to the needs and interests of my listener?
The right approach will give your presentation focus and will also take into consideration the needs and interests of your listeners while leading to your objective.
The Hook !
First, you need to get their attention, right from the start.
Every sales person knows ”the hook”. What allures, entices, tempts, fascinates, enchants, attracts and gets your audience to buy. A hook is a statement used specifically to get attention. You want an example? Go to the news media and you will find HOOKS. They are called HEADLINES.
Check out this headline from the HuffPost: ” What Pirating Taught Me About Life “
Would you read this article? At least, would you be curious?
Now, how do you find your own hook? What’s the most unusual part of your subject? Or, what’s the most interesting and exciting part of your subject? The most humorous ? The most dramatic? Can you reduce it to one sentence?
OK, now that you found your hook, does it lead to your objective; does it relate to your listener; does it relate to your approach? does it excite interest? Can your hook be the first sentence in your presentation?
The What, Who, Where, Why, and How
This is the body of your presentation that’s develops your storyline. You know your objective; and, you know your listener; and, you know your strategy; then, step back, and consider the what, who, where, why, and how. This is your story!
What am I talking about; Who is involved; Where; When, Why; and, How do I do it?
The subject matter explains and reinforces your objective, relates to the listener, and contains your approach. What, Who, Where, Why, and How are all part of your subject.
Closing your message. A message without a specific request is a wasted opportunity. If you don’t ask for something specific; chances are you will get nothing. Advertisements are the best examples, either hard-sell closes that demand action, “Take advantage of our one-day-only 50% off sale”. or soft-sell closes, that demand a reaction rather than an action, “Picture yourself on our Royal Cruise this winter sailing the exotic Greek Islands”
Choose your close. Your strategy is very important for choosing your close. Knowing your objective and knowing your listener must be weighed carefully when formulating your strategic close. Don’t waste this opportunity by not preparing in advance.
But if you choose to go ahead and wing it with your audience, first, watch this short funny video to see what is really going on while you think you got everybodys attention.
Contributor: Jack Sugden provides consulting Services for Webcasting and Webinar Events at USA Conferencing
More topics coming include Painting a Picture: How to use imagery in your Presentations; other topics like Style and Image: what impression are you delivering?
My acknowledgement to Milo Ogden Frank, an authority on communication skills and strategies, who had an extraordinary career as Director of Talent and casting for CBS TV and a writer-producer for films at MGM.
Consultants, trainers, professional speakers, business leaders, video producers and more will add their unique point of view to the topic of Presentation Skills in future posts, so please come back and check in with us regularly.