Photo by Gilberto Reyes

Fighting the urge to accessorize can be difficult.

I was recently working with a client of mine who is an audiologist. She was preparing a talk to other audiologists about some cutting-edge technology in the sector. But she was worried her presentation was boring. She couldn’t figure out how to jazz up a talk about hearing aids. 

In an attempt to keep her audience awake, she wanted to add a funny cartoon into her presentation every 10 minutes. Just to wake her audience up and entertain them.

Can you relate to that urge? Do you sometimes feel you have to add something extra to your presentation to make it interesting? Maybe some whizzy transitions, a video or some bouncing word art?

Or do you feel that you have to be something special – for example, a compelling speaker – for people to listen to you?

Well you don’t need to add ‘special effects’ or humor to your presentation to engage your audience. And you definitely don’t need to become anyone else.

It’s much simpler and easier than that:

If you want to be interesting, talk about something that your audience are already interested in!

So how do you work out what your audience is interested in? Here are some questions to ask:

  1. In what way is your topic relevant to your audience?
  2. In relation to your topic, what is your audience most interested in?
  3. How will your audience benefit by listening to you?
  4. What will your audience find new, surprising or intriguing?

If you find it difficult to answer the questions, talk to people who will be in your audience, or a colleague that understands your audience. 

Let the answers guide what goes into your presentation.

Simply by taking the time to understand what is important to your audience (which is often not the same as what is important to you), will make you a more interesting and engaging speaker. Without any bouncing words in sight……

Stop presenting. Start talking.

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