Who will win – Facebook or you? The art of keeping your audience engaged.

Who will win - Facebook or you? The art of keeping your audience engaged.Last time we talked about what to do if your presentation turns to custard, this time I want to talk to you about Facebook. Well actually how to keep people off Facebook. I’m sure you’ve been to many events, presentations, movies, dinners and even school concerts and seen the crowd on their smartphones checking out Facebook updates, their Twitter feed, even playing Candy Crush! How can you compete with that? It doesn’t matter how many times the audience is asked to turn off their devices, there is always a handful (at least) of people on their phones.

If you’re the presenter, it’s off putting to look out into the crowd and see a bunch of people looking down and sniggering to themselves, lets get them engaged people!! So how do we do it? How do we get those people engaged in your presentation? What is going to entice them to put away their device and listen to you?

Well here’s a little help for you.

Make it Relevant

Tie the main subject of your presentation to the day-to-day lives of your audience (which means you really need to know who you are presenting to). For example, if you are talking to teenagers make an analogy to a popular video game (Grand Theft Auto anyone?). This will help them understand your subject, and they may in fact want to listen.

Use Video

People now have a short attention span and want to be entertained, video is fast moving and engaging. So consider using video in your presentation, but use it wisely, you may find that you keep your audience listening. Make the video short, snappy and funny or dramatic. But don’t abuse it, otherwise people will be back playing Candy Crush.

Short and Snappy

Only put in slides that need to be there, if you want to say “I’ll race through this slide” (Because the information isn’t as important) then leave it out. Only include slides that are related to the main subject. If you are wandering away from the main subject, get back on track fast!

Take Control

The audience has come to see you speak, you are the one leading the charge, so it’s important – vital – that you know your story by heart and perfectly. Half rehearsed is not good enough, winging it is a death sentence (unless you are a super pro speaker and you’ve been talking about the same topic for years.).

  • Know the presentation
  • Know the sequence of the slides and the main message of each
  • Know that you have rehearsed enough and that you feel confident

When you are confident you will be able to interact with your audience, be able to read their needs and adjust if you have to. Which means the audience will be listening to you, rather than checking out their Tumblr feed.

If all else fails and some people are still on their phone, just remember some people are super good at multi-tasking and they may in-fact be listening to every word!