Here is the scenario. You are giving an important presentation to a team of executives at your firm…
You have prepared well.
Your slides are well organized and you know the subject cold.
Things seem to start fine, but 20 minutes into the presentation you sense that the attention of the audience seems to be sagging. How do you know? By observing their behavior; body language, eye contact, etc.
So what do you do?
Did you know there is an ‘Attention Reset Button‘? Well there is.
Peoples’ attention will naturally fade in and fade out over time. It is inevitable.
It is going to happen no matter how interesting your material is or how well you are presenting it. It’s just the way our brains work – attention spans are naturally limited.
But you can have some control over that.
By hitting the attention reset button!
Here are a few ways to do it…
Tell a story – Everyone loves stories. It is instantly engaging and gets that attention back to the presenter. ‘Here is something similar that happened to me…‘
Make them laugh – Getting them to laugh a little perks everyone up.
Use a transition – Using a transition statement signals a change, and changes are great to get everyone to refocus. Something like ‘So that’s the issue we’re facing, now let’s move on to my recommendation on how to address it‘.
Pause for questions – Everyone does this at the end but a short Q&A during your presentation is great because it’s a change from just you talking and allows for good interaction.
Finally, remember that your ‘reset technique’ needs to be in context of your subject and setting. It’s not always appropriate to go for laughter or tell a story. Even if it is, it has to be related somehow to what you are talking about – otherwise it will just confuse the audience, or worse, make you look a bit desperate…
Extra Bonus Tip
Don’t wait until you are presenting to use your ‘Audience Reset’ techniques. Build them into your presentation before you even get there! Just deliver your presentation in segments. Make each segment about 10 minutes long and use an audience reset technique to separate them.
Something like this…
Introduction <personal story>
Segment 1 <Brief Q and A>
Segment 2 <Ask for reactions>
Segment 3 <transition statement>
Segment 4 <share an anecdote>