It doesn’t matter what industry you’re in, creating a first impression and winning over your audience when giving a presentation comes with its pressures. Trying to involve and engage the audience in what you’re saying while standing in front of them is invaluable to the success of any presentation. And you give yourself a high starting point for success and confidence when you have fantastic content to provide. Your words matter and this content will set the scene and tone.
Even with the right educational technology, you also need to consider the three main elements of communication during your presentation: words, the tone of voice, and body language. All three of these characteristics must be harmonious with each other for your communication to be effective. That is, keep your words interesting, your tone of voice commanding, and your body language charming to produce a gripping presentation. And you can achieve this with the right preparation and attitude.
What You Should Do
With the three elements of communication, you give roughly 7% of it through words, 38% through tone of voice, and 55% through body language. That’s why it’s essential to practice giving your presentation many times beforehand. Words do matter, but it’s how you convey them. You’ll want to grab your audience’s attention, intrigue them, and inspire them.
When it’s time for the presentation, you always want to introduce yourself first confidently. Maintain eye contact with the audience and keep an open posture to hold their interest. You can use props such as handouts, videos, slides, or any other sort of EdTech device. But remember that these are only signposts to your message. At the end of your presentation, always ask the audience if they have any questions for you.
What You Shouldn’t Do
Unfortunately, keeping your audience’s attention can sometimes be tricky. The optimal attention span for humans to comfortably hold interest with a speaker is about 20 minutes. But the individual human has a rough attention span of a mere eight seconds – much less than it used to be nearly two decades ago. The worst part is that nine seconds is the attention span of a goldfish. So, to maintain audience engagement, try to stay away from certain behaviors.
For example, don’t talk too fast or too slow. Keep it at a steady speed. When doing so, you can prevent yourself from gaps in your speech with “um” and “uh.” You’ll also want to avoid reading from your slides at all costs, as it distracts from focusing on your audience. You may feel some nervousness but try to prevent yourself from pacing up and down the floor. In the same vein, try your best not to fidget around much with your hands, as it can be distracting.
You may have some of the best educational technology at your disposal when giving a presentation, but you’ll still need to pay attention to how you speak, what you say, and how you can best keep your audience’s attention.