The answer to your question is "ask them questions." It's one of the most effective tools a speaker can use to engage the audience from the start of--and throughout--a speech. It also helps you avoid disclosing too much....start the speech by taking a poll of the audience. How many tinker with video on their own time? How many have internships? How many have studied it in class? How many want to work in the field? Then ask them what they want to know from you.You'll find a good example--and the lessons the speaker learned from it--in David Pogue's piece about copyright in yesterday's New York Times. He asked audiences for his speeches about what they think is right or wrong about copying digital information -- music, DVDs, and more -- and found a striking generational divide, all with a show of hands. Taking a poll of your audiences not only gets their attention and engagement, but helps you shift on the fly, if necessary, so your remarks hit the mark. For more presentation and public speaking tips, check out our sister blog, The Eloquent Woman, on women and public speaking.
Friday, December 21, 2007
A couple of months ago, I saw this LinkedIn question: "I'm doing a presentation to students about my industry... what do they want to know?" The speaker noted his competitors would be present, so he didn't want to disclose proprietary information, and that, if pressed, he couldn't recommend many of the courses in the curriculum for his specialty area. I answered: