Hmmm, now that’s very interesting …

So you have to make a public presentation? How do you kick it off in a high-energy way that immediately foc-uses the aud-ience’s attention(and takes their focus off you while you ease yourself into the presentation and calm your nerves)?For those of us who suffer bad nerves in this situation, and trust me, most of us do, much of our anxiety is connected to the simple fact that we are the focus of people’s attention. So do some thing to take the focus off you. That is, do or say some thing you know will engage their minds thinking about the issues, not thinking about you. Try some of these ideas.Show a bright, colourful visual or make a loud noise. For example, a gory picture of an eye operation makes an enormous impact at the start of a safety talk. Or a relevant cartoon or some image that relates to your theme. Remember that a picture really is worth 1,000 words. And, of course, while they are looking at the image and their minds are starting to engage with that image, they are not thinking about you. Distribute a handout that has the key question (related to the purpose of the pres-entation) written on it with lined space for them to write a response. Ask them to reflect for a moment and write a brief response to the question. You could then ask for a range of responses and say that you will attempt to cover most of these issues during your presentation. Or, after they have reflected and written their response, say that if your presen-tation does not answer their question to ask it at the end. Create curiosity. Ever wondered how...? Ever wondered when ? Ever won-dered what...? Ever wondered why...?Pay a sincere compliment to the group or to anindividual. Make sure the compliment is genuine and relevant. Describe why it is worthy of mention. State a significant consequence of an upcoming event or state a fact of interest to the group. For example, "Ignorance of this particular law in the future makes you liable to a fine of $25,000 and/or imprisonment for a term of six months. "Ask a question. This will gain immediate audience response and hence their immediate attention. "We are here today to find out more about. Does anyone know why … is of vital interest to this group?” Ask a series of questions around Rudyard Kipling’s six wise men – who, what, where, how, why and when. State a benefit for the audience. Tell the audience what’s in it for them, how they will benefit by listening to your presentation. It might be more profit, reduced costs, time saving, more leisure time, increased efficiency, less stress, better safety, etc. Display a model directly related to your subject – an ingenious cutaway model or transparent Perspex dummy can be shown to reveal parts related to your subject. Start with a ‘straw poll’ of the audience. Ask the audience to put up their hand if they are for prop-osition X or Y or Z. In advance of the presentation, conduct a mini survey on the topic and then present the findings. Promise things to come – some interesting development or result or reward without dis-closing exactly what it is. Quote a reco-mmendation or referral that has come from someone well known and respected by the audience – mention that person’s name and why they have recommended you. Start with a personalised statement connecting you immediately with the topic. "I suffered a stroke and like you I thought it would never happen to me. "Show the end result first. Tell them what they will know or be able to do as a result of this presentation .Tell a joke or cite a humorous incident about the topic. Check with others first that it is funny and you can tell it humorously. Use a startling statistic. Relate it to some thing that occurs in every day life to sheet it home.Ask the audience to tell you what are the burning questions or issues related to the topic of most interest to them. Write their responses on a whiteboard. Then tell them that you will cover many of these during your presen-tation. From the international best-selling books, ‘You Lead,They’ll Follow. How to inspire, lead and manage people. Really.’ Volumes 1, 2 and 3 by Daniel Kehoe published by McGraw Hill. for on-line orders. Daniel Kehoe provides a range of innovative tools for leader ship, people management and business improvement to small, medium and large organizations including the You Lead, They’ll Follow Experience® and Systematic-Innovation® - one of the best ideas management systems on the planet. See T 08 9477 1135 E

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