The only reason we present stories is because we have an audience who need to hear them. But how often when we prepare and deliver presentations do we completely forget this fact, get caught up in ourselves and forget the audience even exists? Here are six ways to make your audience your friend.
When I acted for a year each show would be different based on the audience’s energy. Sometimes it was electric, sometimes it was like wading through treacle (have you ever actually done that?). But I never let the audience be my guide and my temperature. I had to set the temperature. So must you. Always. With energy.
Your audience has a left brain and a right brain. Generally the right brain loves emotion and vision, the left brain loves details, facts and steps. One without the other is imbalance. So bring both. But try bringing vision and emotion as you begin and then the detail to achieve the vision.
Our average attention span has gone down to eight seconds. Which is why you need to grab the right brain with energy vision — with a headline and a picture. Then swing over to the left with detail. Make the most of eight seconds by giving headlines.
We love everything to do with contrast — our favourite Netflix series’ and movies have contrast laced throughout them. Why? We live our life in contrast. It’s how we frame the world. So let your audience’s world be framed in your presentation with the contrast they are used to. Don’t just tell them what you want to do, tell them what life for the business would be like without it.
Chip and Dan Heath talk about this loads in their book Made to Stick. Surprise is the key ingredient to great storytelling. How do you surprise in a corporate setting? Don’t lead with the obvious left brain detail. Start with a 30-second story. Go on. I dare you.
We love to follow as human beings. This is true as a human race and true on social media. So be bold and ask us to follow you and do something.