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connect with your audience

The secret of speaking directly to your audience

April 21, 2020

The answer: Avoid using meta-talk.

In a conversation you would never say: “In this sentence you will hear that I am saying…..” or “In my next paragraph I will outline my argument.” This would be “meta-talk”: talk about talking, and it sounds very odd!

So why do we see so many presenters say: “In this presentation I will show you….” or “I will take you through this presentation….”

That sort of meta-talk is annoying because it distances you from your audience. You distance yourself at exactly the time when you need to connect.

To avoid this mistake, you need to speak directly to your audience rather than narrate the mechanics of your presentation.

 

What does this mean in practice?

Avoid referring to your presentation as a separate entity. Instead, talk to your audience as if to a person – one to one. And only refer to your visual aids as needed.

For example:

You SHOULD NOT say: “Now turn to page 3. Here are the quarterly sales figures. As shown on the presentation, sales this quarter are up 3% and the graph shows the positive trend.”

You SHOULD say:Sales this quarter are up 3%. That is a good result. This means we have now been increasing sales for the last 6 quarters. It’s a trend we would love to see continue.”

 

Can you see the difference?

In the second example you don’t mention the slide or the graph. You aren’t narrating a slide, you are talking to the audience and the slide/graph visually supports your argument. It’s a subtle change, but completely changes how effectively you communicate.

If you want to learn more about this and many other techniques for better presentations, please get in touch and find out how we can support you to become a world class presenter.

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