How to Win Your Audience

Being a Quality Manager or a Project Manager requires a skillset of understanding certain techniques. This comes with learning as well as with being exposed to practice in the real world. But understanding the techniques alone are not enough.

Understanding that a message is perceived differently depending on so many factors such as mood at the time of delivery, culture, level of interest to name a few, is enough to highlight that your intended message is already under a great risk of being distorted. So what should you do in a presentation to win your audience?

Engaging your audience is very determinate to the success of your presentation. Here are 5 simple tips that would hopefully help:

  1. Keep it short
    The famous old saying Knowledge is Power is true. I personally live by this motto. And because in any organisation, evidence based decisions are key, knowledge should be shared. In a presentation, share the facts. You can elaborate on the information where needed, but focus on the facts.
  2. Keep it simple
    Have you heard of the elevator pitch? You have got 45seconds in a lift to pitch your idea or get the attention or your audience! Follow the rule while presenting each slide. Move away from fluff and focus on the core of what you are presenting. Tip number 3 will help you with that as well.
  3. Have visuals
    Do people underestimate the power of visual? I have come across so many people who do not know how to use PowerPoint or Keynotes. If you fall under this category, I strongly recommend you do some self tutorials. They are extremely easy to use, and their value is very high! You can find plenty of 101s on YouTube.
    Having a visual in your presentation will emphasise the message you are delivering. Photos speak louder than words, right? The visual could be a diagram, a process flow, or a picture. As long as it aids your presentation, go for it! But do not over do it!
    I was tasked with creating a short training that highlights a policy. The training had to be efficient, informative, and erases all the ambiguity the policy had. I started with procedures available to the teams. There were several good detailed procedures, but they were all written in words format, scenarios were isolated from each other. I used a simple flow chart and a hierarchical chart and brought all scenarios together and the steps required to proceed in each case. The visual in itself helped process owners to realise how complicate the policy was. What happened? The procedures were revised and simplified.
  4. Include the “what’s in it for you” benefit
    One of the key mistakes that lots of presenters do is fall into the trap of portraying their own information as it is. While the presentation would not have been put together without the presenter’s work, the key element is the audience themselves. -How will they perceive the information?
    Could they see the benefit this will bring?
    Has the presentation shed light on something they were not aware of?
    The last thing you want is for your audience to join you for a presentation – 5mins or 50mins – and walk out and say: I do not know what the point was – we knew all of this! That is why keeping the benefit / added value will contribute to a successful presentation.
  5. Engage with your audience
    Have you ever attended a presentation where you thought to yourself, “this is relevant if” or “I understand the topic, but how should I overcome that!” Those are all takeaways that not you alone have them. That is why engaging with your audience is key to get the relevant message across. Because in the end, your presentation has a context, and your audience can only understand what you are sharing, if they can relate to the context. Having a Q&A section is always good, but have you thought about using polls or relevant ice breakers throughout your presentation. These will always bring the audience to engage with you.

And your bonus Tip is to make sure you are fully prepared and know the subject matter at hand. If you want your audience to be engaged with you, you must be fully prepared and understand the topic you are presenting. If you are not engaged yourself, then do not expect your audience to be.

Follow these steps, and I am sure they will put you in the right direction! Happy presenting!

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