Audience Engagement is hard to maintain yet critical during important business meetings. According to TIME magazine, most people now have a shorter attention span than a goldfish, which is about 9 seconds! You only have a few seconds to catch your audience’s attention before they start daydreaming. Whether you are presenting a keynote or leading a presentation, here are 5 tips to effectively connect with your audience to potentially increase the chances of landing your next major client.
Stay true to who you are! To connect with your audience better, it helps to be relatable and authentic. As an entrepreneur, be careful not to come off too arrogant when sharing your success stories and achievements. There is a way to share without making yourself look superior to others. Stay engaged with conversations and ask clarifying questions. Ensure that you are fully present with others at all times, this will create organic respect and a sense of total authenticity from your associates.
2. Slow Down,
When leading a meeting or giving a presentation, make sure that you are enunciating every word and communicating clearly. Since nervousness and anxiety usually leads to fast-talking and rushing through our words, always be mindful of your speaking pace. As you are speaking, don’t forget to maintain eye contact. Also, a smile goes a long way to creating connections with your audience.
3. Be Humorous,
Humor is an easy way to build rapport but use it sparingly. The tone of a business meeting is usually serious and jokes can be a way to lighten things up. Starting off the meeting with a joke can lighten up the mood and relax the audience. However, an inappropriate or unneeded joke can quickly sour a discussion.
4. Encourage Participation,
To encourage participation, ask your audience questions throughout the meeting and organize some discussions. When you encourage participation within your audience, the more engaged they will be. It can also create tighter bonds amongst those in the meeting because they are forced to collaborate together as a single unit.
5. Create handouts when needed,
Usually, handouts will increase audience engagement, however, only use it when needed. If you do use handouts, save them for the end of the meeting. It is best to utilize the handout as a recap of the meeting. This will prevent your audience from paying attention to the paper in front of them instead of focusing on the topics at hand.