There you are, in front of the hundred and so audience, all ears to hear what you have to say. And there is that speaker itch to get going, and run through the slide deck, and give them your best.
- Ask the audience to introduce to the people on the left, and on the right. Be specific – put a slide up, and say what the 30 seconds should be about:
- Company and Role, where based
- How long in the role
- What do they hope from the presentation
- Be clear on the question time. Allow time for questions…some speakers give the impression they want to deliver everything in their 7 bullet per page 40 slides deck. Don’t! If you’ve been going for 10 minutes and no question was asked, either time to get off the soap box, or your audience is happily checking e-mail.
- Pause for questions
- Ask if there are questions
- Especially for a conference presentation, allow at least 10 minutes at the end.
- Allow, with a limit, for one or two people from the audience to contribute, by asking clear “Who has done that, and what was their experience”, especially for something that you do not have direct experience. The approach can be a two step:
- “Thank you for the question. In my experience, this is what works” … and provide crisp details.
- “However, there are other things that work. While I don’t have direct experience with that, is someone from the audience that would want to provide their learning”
- Remember Point 1 above – ask them to introduce themselves to the entire audience. Will set the stage for a very professional answer.
That’s it. Three steps. Please provide your own tips for engaging your audience, so we can learn from each other.