December 17, 2008

Build the audience into your presentation

Here's a quick tip to make your audience more receptive to your presentation: use their names in your talk!

Last week at my networking group meeting, one of the speakers managed to mention five or six people in the room as he went through his ten-minute presentation. Whether it was to illustrate a point, to make an example, or to create an analogy, he managed to find ways to incorporate people's names and businesses into the presentation in a smooth, seamless way.

His lighthearted approach also added some humor to the presentation, as his main point was that he was not going to talk about his business while, of course, talking about his business, and plugging other businesses in the process.

If you think you can't incorporate your audience members because you don't know them, that's all the more reason to get to your venue early and greet people as they arrive. Find out what they're interested in and why they've come to the presentation, and then mention these conversations throughout your talk.

It helps to increase your connection with the people in the room, and it's a great way to personalize your talk so you don't sound canned or generic.

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5 comments. Please add yours! :

Tracee Sioux, Sioux Ink: Soul Purpose Publishing said...

how do you remember names. I'm working on this. I will word or characterization-associate with someone and I'll never forget the association but can't remember the name. I feel fundamentally rude and older than I actually am.

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Tracee, I wish I could say that I always remember everyone's names, but I don't. I once started to talk about someone in the audience I met beforehand and then blanked on her name. I just looked at her nametag and made a joke about my old age. People don't take it personally, and the joke is on me!

Writing down some notes might help, since you're probably already using some notes for your presentation. Just scribble some names on the side.

For a half- or full-day training, I make (or have them make) table cards so I can see people's names clearly from the front of the room.

Tracee Sioux, Sioux Ink: Soul Purpose Publishing said...

good advice. I wish everyone wore nametags in their regular life. is that a trend I could start?

Lisa Braithwaite said...

Scott Ginsberg has been wearing his nametag for 2,968 days now. :-)

Lisa Braithwaite said...

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