Whether you’re addressing a class, pitching investors, or engaging an auditorium full of listeners, here are three tools that will help:
1. LOOK ALIVE: Ask yourself: Would my audience be getting a different experience if they were viewing a recorded version of my talk as opposed to seeing it live? The answer should be yes. Whenever possible, connect with your audience in specific ways that make your presentation feel like a live event, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. This is not to say your class, lecture, or pitch should not translate dynamically on a recording as well (more on that later), but anyone watching the recorded version should feel as though they’ve missed out a bit.
2. ENTERTAIN YOURSELF: You may not always be in a position to select the topic you’d most like address, or your audience, but if you make sure that at least one element of your talk (presentation style, a favorite anecdote, etc.) is pleasing and exciting to you as a speaker, there’s a decent chance this will heighten your enthusiasm and relatability and make you more interesting to listen to. Remember, the first person you need to engage is yourself.
3. SURPRISE: Even in situations where the content of your talk is relatively set (maybe you have an agenda to stick to, a PowerPoint presentation you need to play nice with…) slipping something in that your audience doesn’t see coming will signal to them that they need—and want—to pay attention at all times.