Keep Your Audience Engaged in Your Presentation

To become an excellent presenter, you need to master the art of grabbing your audience’s attention—and holding it. Here are three techniques you can use to engage any audience like a pro.

Physical. Whether you’re giving an in-person presentation or conducting a virtual meeting, think about how you can get your audience moving. A simple invitation to “Turn to the person next to you and greet them” or “Raise your hand if X, Y, or Z” can get them involved. Your goal is to turn your audience into participants, not just observers.

Mental. Fight back against your audience’s tendency to zone out or multitask by fostering cognitive engagement. You can do this by asking direct questions, incorporating provocative statements or data, and introducing smart, surprising analogies.

Linguistic. Use language to invite your audience in. Mention participants’ names when you can, and use phrases like “As you know…” or “Today, you will learn…” to directly address the crowd. You can also spur your listeners’ imaginations with phrases like “What if you could…” and “Picture this…” to help them visualize the future, or “Remember when…” or “Think back to when…” to bring them back to the past.