How to Engage and Dazzle Your Audience

Updated: Oct 31, 2019

Define what you want

Get clear on what you want to accomplish.  Before we embark on any journey we need to determine where we’re going.  A presentation is no different.  It is essential that we specifically define what we the audience to do and how we want it to feel.

Define the specific action you want the audience to take

Are you selling something, raising awareness, informing or entertaining?  Do you want people to take action, feel something, purchase something, sign up for an event, call a 1-800 number, watch a video, download something or contact you for more information? 

Whatever your goal, match your delivery to the tone of the desired result. 

If you want to reassure your audience, then feel reassured yourself.  If you want to excite your audience, then get excited.  

Ask yourself which emotions best serve your message.  Does it require you to sound more warm and reassuring, sarcastic, whimsical or authoritative?  In private coaching we define your destination and practice techniques to help refine your tone.

Identify the emotion you want the audience to feel

After determining what specific action you want your audience to take, decide which emotions coincide with those actions.  What emotions do you want your audience to feel? 

Centering your focus around your audience helps you stay in the present moment, out of your own head and tuned into what you want to accomplish.  

Audience focused performances help you be less self-conscious while keeping you engaged with your audience’s perspective.

Emphasize words that underscore your goal

When writing a script from scratch or analyzing a pre-written one it is essential to emphasize the right words.  Hitting the right words is often the difference between a beginner and sophomoric delivery versus one that is polished and professional..

Advertisers are very good at writing ad copy that is extremely concise and underscores their selling message.  Well trained voice actors take this ad copy and deliver it in a way that subtly nudges audiences to respond the way the advertiser wants you to. 

writing your presentation you want to use words the way advertisers do. In ad copy there are always keywords that underscore your selling message.  Such keywords can help you subtlety nudge your audience and shape the emotional response you’re after.

In private coaching we spend a lot of time on script analysis and developing a script that delivers the most bang for its buck.  There are more than a dozen ways to make words pop in a more compelling way. 

It takes practice and working with a coach to know which words to emphasize for greatest impact. 

A coach can also help keep you from going too far and making arbitrary (and wrong) choices of which words to emphasize. Emphasizing words that are not congruent with your selling message creates cognitive dissonance and ultimately contributes to your audience tuning out.

Find the conflict

Conflict isn’t necessarily negative but can be viewed as your audience’s problem space.

If you are giving a presentation it is likely you are addressing some point of conflict, friction, discord, tension or pain within your audience.  

When you forget this fact you risk missing the opportunity to deepen your level of engagement.

Once you identify the conflict you can underscore the correct words in your presentation and emphasize where appropriate.    

Where are the turning points

What journey is your audience on?  Where are the turning points in the journey?  

Like any good play or film there are turning points in every story.  Often in advertising, ads (sales stories) have a three-act structure much like a movie, film or screenplay. 

Act one is the build-up act where conflict and tension emerge and rise.  Act two is where the drama plays out and the solution os presented.  Act 3 is the call to action.   This structure is familiar to audiences and allows advertisers to get a lot of messaging into a very short time frame.  Between each act are crucial inflection points in your story or presentation – present the problem you’re solving, presenting your solution, calling your prospect to action.  

In private coaching we work on structuring your presentation for maximum build up and effect, reaching each turning point with appropriate emotion while captivating your audience with every word.  

You’re speaking so loudly I can’t hear what you’re saying

You control a device that can cause an audience tune naturally tune in or tune out – the volume control.  

The softer you talk, the closer people listen.

By fluctuating your volume throughout your presentation you draw listeners to key messages, points of conflict and emotional key words.

In private sessions we find that sweet spot between your natural everyday voice and an energized volume just above the level of your audience so as to captivate but not overdo it. 

Inject your unique brand of humor

Humans love to laugh and most everyone has a funny side.  Humor is especially helpful for comedic relief around an audience’s  pain point.  

Humor is a powerful weapon that breaks down interpersonal barriers, create lasting bonds, reduces social tension and brings people together.  

Granted, humor can be a risk since we don’t all share the same brand of humor, but it will generally help your presentation stand out in your audience’s mind.  Audience’s won’t remember what you say verbatim, but instead how you make them feel, i.e. whether you are funny, witty and clever or dull and boring.   

Always inject your own unique sense of humor when appropriate

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *