People in business attend hundreds of presentations throughout their careers, so how are you going to make yours stand out? The key to making an impactful, memorable presentation is to be high-energy and engaging. An energized presentation starts with you: Your enthusiasm, passion, and inspirational vision will resonate with your audience. By infusing genuine energy throughout your presentation, you create excitement with your audience – meaning you will be remembered.
Draw the Audience In
After thanking your participants for their time and giving them a sneak-peek of your major points, it’s time to draw the audience into your story; you want them sitting up at attention, anxious to hear more.
I recently attended a presentation on auto incident data. This could have easily been a snoozefest of a presentation, but the presenter took this dry topic and turned it into a powerhouse talk. She asked questions, selected audience members to share thoughts, polled the audience, and used pictures and video to visually stimulate and connect with the incident data. She moved between the podium and screen, calling out key learnings, and using her hands and body to mimic behaviors and her voice to create a sense of drama. Despite making her presentation in the drowsy hour right after lunch, she created more buzz than a triple-shot espresso. Her infectious energy stayed with the audience for the rest of the day, and we were thinking about the critical takeaways for hours afterward.
Work the Room
A fantastic way to keep your audience energized is to work the room as you make your presentation. Your activity and motion will help you maintain your energy level, and it keeps the audience engaged as they watch you traverse the room. Talk to both individuals and the group, make eye contact, nod, and smile. Keep your audience connected, and make each member feel like you are speaking directly to them. Standing at the front behind a podium is old-school and boring. Instead, use your hands, body, and voice to build and maintain attention and the sense of drama unfolding. Motion equals action, and your motion adds import to your content and creates an atmosphere of excitement.
If possible, familiarize yourself with the presentation room before your speech. Get a sense of the space, consider potential tight spots, and anticipate the flow. Rehearse in the room. Visualizing your movements and path around the room will provide the final polish to a powerful presentation. So, prepare, rehearse, and repeat the process. Now you are poised to blow your audience away with your natural confidence and energy.
In certain settings and venues, your stage may be limited. Rather than feeling like a caged tiger, incorporate your hand and body movements, along with your voice and tone, to create the scene. Mixing in humor adds additional spice to your presentation. In my repertoire, I will lower my voice and ask the audience what they think the results would be, then – bam! – give a little leap and fist pump the actual findings, adding that element of fun. You might also ask the audience how great they would feel to report success to their management; imagining their future praise puts a smile on every face.
High energy, as well as preparation and rehearsal, creates a memorable presentation and leaves a lasting impression. Go on, get out from behind the podium and engage your audience! Share your passion and excitement about your subject! Provide your audience the inspiration to learn more and take the next steps toward achieving their own objectives. Your energy will surely encourage the audience to explore new possibilities, making your presentation a successful and memorable one.