Engage the room

Kieran Flanagan   @ThinkKieranF

Often when we’re presenting to a boardroom, to our colleagues or at an AGM or conference, we get so caught up in our facts and figures and in our own prefered methods of communication, that it’s easy to forget that our primary objective in presenting is to engage the room. 

To lead a room with our presentation skills, we need to learn to mix our palette of communication, to combine the visual with the factual and the emotional with the practical.

It’s also important to remember that human communication is multifaceted and multidirectional. The goal is not simply information transmission but to move people to understanding and action.

So how might we ensure that we reach people where they are?

Make it visual

Now, it would be very easy to assume that I’m refering to your Powerpoint deck here, but being visual is as much to do with how you present yourself as it does with technology.

Do you look like you should be in front of the room? Do you carry confidence and convery competence and certainty? Do you make eye contact with different sections of the room and move puposely (as opposed to playing “tennis” crossing the stage from one side to the next)?

Of course, it should go without saying that your presentation slides should add to the impact of your presentation, not serve as presenter notes.

Make it empathetic

Human communication is all about generating an emotional, and even an irrational, response to our vision, aspirations and ideas. If they don’t feel it, neither will they act (at least not with much enthusiasm).

Facts do matter, but they don’t move people. In fact, an overreliance on facts when making a contentious point or in a high pressure context can actually have the opposite effect. This “Backfire Effect” occurs when people feel so backed into a corner by a fact-based argument that they become defensive and irrational and increasingly closed-minded.

Make it make sense

This is really about doing your due diligence before you speak. Know your topic, know the likely objections and be the person in the room who knows your subject better than anyone else.

Of course, this will not always be possible, however it should still be your goal.

Not only does this make you look more compelling as a speaker, it absolutely lifts your confidence and and your audience’s engagement levels.

Make action achievable

In a commercial or business context, no one is presenting because they like the sound of their own voice (although, I’m sure we can all name a few notable exceptions).

Rather, we are most likely seeking to inspire a positive change, to open minds to new ideas and possibilities and to drive results-centric action.

And yet, this step is often missed. Consider how many times you have heard an inspiring presentation only to walk away with no real concept of what your next steps should be.

So once you have established your WHAT WHY & HOW, make sure your leave them with a what NOW.

Presentation mastery, like all good communication, should leave you feeling inspired and also a little impatient to act!

Find out how Kieran can help you become a powerful presenter through her in-house team workshops & one on one mentoring on Presentation Mastery. Contact info@TheImpossibleInstitute.com or visit www.TheImpossibleInstitute.com


Kieran Flanagan is an author, speaker, trainer and social commentator. She helps leaders, teams and organisations “make change positive” through developing Forever Skills including: 

#Innovation - Creativity & Problem Solving

#Collaboration - Teamwork & Team Dynamics

#Inspiration - Engagement & Presentation Mastery

#Transformation - Change & Leadership