Public Speaking Ideas- Audience Participation Adds Impact- Part Four- Sight

Public Speaking Ideas– Audience Participation Adds Impact- Part Four- Sight

What do you see when you participate in a presentation? Or better yet, what do people see when you are presenting? They see you, of course, and perhaps your flip charts and PowerPoint slides, but what else. We are presenting to generations that grew up with so much visual stimulation that they are waiting to see something “different” each time they view a presentation. PowerPoint has become cliché; flip charts have also become a useful, but retro medium. So how can we involve sight as a creative augment to our presentations?

Once speaking on the problem of commercializing Christmas I spoke in a Santa Claus outfit. There were several opportunities throughout the presentation to use the costume to help emphasize dramatic points. Likewise, speaking on an Easter Sunday on the real meaning of Easter, I spoke while dressed as the Easter Bunny. The comic relief was immediate, which was easily translated into many illustrations and illuminations concerning the subject material. Speaking to a group on an issue that needed to be taken seriously I wore a gorilla outfit, reminding them throughout the presentation, “not to monkey around with…..” The extra visual helped people to make the connection of the presentation points while becoming a constant illustration that I could refer to with appropriate gestures and comments.

We think we’ve helped the audience when we have made our display on a white board or flip chart- and these are great items to include. We often put up PowerPoint, or presentation slides that we have labored over concerning the content, font, size, color, pictures, animations, etc. All of which are fine, but don’t make the impression or connection they used to make.

Our personal movement, gestures and voice are the most important visuals that we can enhance to make better connections with the audience, but don’t overlook being creative. Give them something “else” to see. Once demonstrating the importance of prioritizing I saw a presenter place objects in a glass jar in descending size order. Every time we thought he couldn’t get more in the jar he would place something smaller in the jar, finally filling it with sand and then water. The point wasn’t that there is always room for more, but rather you better get the big things in first. I still remember the lesson because of the visual.

In your next presentation preparations take some time to be innovative while thinking, “What can I put before the audiences’ eyes to help them understand and integrate the message?” Maybe your message will get through their eyes and into their imaginations.

Author: Craig Wagganer, Date Published: October 15, 2009

Craig Wagganer was an instructor for The Leader's Institute ® from 2007-2012. For more details, you can find him on LinkedIn.

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