'Get to the point': keeping your audience engaged
Speaking is a cost-effective way for small business to level the playing field. Your presentation is your brand. Whether you’re speaking on a panel, from the main stage or meeting with investors, you have 30 seconds to grab their attention. When they glance at their watches and their eyes glaze over, you know you've lost them. The best way to keep your listeners’ attention is to get to the point – and do it quickly.
Consider these five tips to keep your presentations clear, concise and focused:
1. Set it up. One of the biggest speaking mistakes is starting with details. Technical speakers often fall into this trap. Begin with a purpose statement. “My goal today is to convince you that…” This is critical when speaking to executives and investors.
2. Rule of three. Give them a road map by providing a three-point agenda. An agenda is your road map. It tells them where you're taking them and directs their attention. Why three points? They're easier to remember. Advertising messages follow the three-point formula.
3. Spell it out clearly and concisely. Flesh out each agenda item with examples and data, but keep it brief.
4. Point of view - plus two. When providing your point of view as an expert, offer two examples. It’s not enough to state your opinion unless you can back it up with evidence. Analogies, metaphors, facts, personal experience, historical data and statistics add more meat to the bone and validate your viewpoint.
5. Bring it home. Don’t just end with a dead halt. Summarize your main points. Review where you've been. Revisit your three points and finish up with a call to action or an inspiring statement. A presentation without a conclusion is like a story without an ending.
Today’s buyers are on information overload and will check out if you don’t get to the point. Practice these tips and you’ll increase your chances of getting what you want.