August 5, 2008

3 ways to avoid being the center of attention

For people who don't like being the center of attention, I've got an easy trick for you: Make the audience do the work.

Here are three ways to make that happen in a presentation:

1. Ask the audience a lot of questions so they can share their knowledge and expertise and contribute to the learning of the group.

2. Break the audience into pairs or groups for discussion, then have them report back.

3. Break the audience into pairs or groups for activities and exercises, like solving a problem or demonstrating one of your points.

See yourself as a facilitator or guide rather than the one person with all the answers. Guide the audience to finding their own answers by offering them plenty of opportunities to work things out themselves.

As adults, we are responsible for our own learning, and we're going to learn better as audience members if we participate in the process rather than being spoon-fed a lecture.

When you are expected to be the one, the only, the brilliant, the hilarious, the expert, there's a lot of pressure. And a lot of attention focused on you.

But you have the power to change that and make it about your audience. Put the focus on them, and you will feel less pressure to perform and more like a partner with the group.

When the audience does some of the work, it's hard to feel like you're still the center of attention.

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2 comments. Please add yours! :

Andrew is getting fit said...

I use this a lot in my teaching. It's a very good way of getting the class engaged.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

I don't know why some speakers and teachers think that we want to sit there like zombies while they talk endlessly. And then they wonder why they don't get the results they want. . .

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