• Mel Butcher

Paying Attention to Your Presentation



When you present to a live group, whether on a webinar or some other format, you want people to pay attention. Or at least, I hope you do!


I've come up with a little thing I like to do to incentivize my audience to pay attention.


It goes like this...


I identify three to five main points that I really want my audience to hear, things I really want them to soak in.


At the very beginning of the talk I say, "Grab a physical pen/pencil and paper. Whenever you see the gold star - like the one in the lower left hand corner right it down. Those are going to be super important points for today's talk. Writing things down with physical pen and paper helps you retain more and it will also allow us to play a little game at the end!"


Then, when each point comes up in the presentation, a gold star comes onto the screen, along with a short phrase that I ask the audience to right down.


When we get to the end, I say, "OK, here's my phone number, whoever can snap a photo of their notes and text the image to me with their name *first... get's a prize!"


Of course you don't have to give out your number, you could give an email address. The point is to make it easy for the audience to identify and capture your main points and to encourage them to interact with you.


I've enjoyed giving audience participants various books or a fun little freebie they would enjoy.


So there you go - one idea for taking engagement on your presentations to the next level!


LESSONS LEARNED:


After a recent presentation, I got some feedback on those star points. Two different people let me know that they were a little too long and the audience didn't have time to quite write them down. They suggested that I shorten the phrases to make them more "bite sized".


I took two things away from this:


First, I needed to shorten my main points, of course! I went back, and shortened my points for that presentation to be punchy phrases.


The second thing I took away is that thoughtful feedback is truly a gift. It was a real gift for those audience participants to share with me how I could improve. If you were one of those survey takers - THANK YOU!


That's important to remember in all aspects of work, and life really, that giving and receiving well thought out feedback that can help make us better is a gift.


Thanks for reading and happy presenting!



Photo of lit projector by Alan Litvin

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