Because we all learn in different ways, a speaker will do well to present their narrative in a way that will appeal to auditory, visual, and kinesthetic learners. Each primary objective of the presentation should be conveyed in each of the primary learning types.
As a speaker you may or may not have control of room setup, but it’s best to find out. The length of your presentation, activities, and topics will dictate the best table set up. If you have small group activities, round tables are easy to use for this purpose. If the crowd is large or the space is open you’ll want to check audio and visual equipment in advance. Will people in the back be able to see and hear you?
Subjects that require participants to dig deep into themselves are often easier in a more intimate room setting. If the room is large, can you walk through it? A long, narrow room with round tables may mean that the back half of the room might not feel connected to you.
If possible, arrive early to your speaking engagement. Take time to meet a few people before you speak. Remember as many names as possible so you can call on participants to share. (Also, if the rest of the room hears you use someone’s name they’ll think, “He knows her, she must be cool.”) If the group is small enough, it may be practical to allow everyone to introduce themselves.
Read your audience, be flexible. If they get it, move on. If they don’t, slow down. Always have more than enough info for your allotted time frame, but don’t feel like you have to cover everything. Give 90% and leave your audience wanting more. Don’t go overtime! No matter how great you are people WILL be looking at their watches. Don’t let your final impression sour your presentation.
Give your audience plenty of options for getting in touch with you. Just as people learn different ways, people want to be communicated with in different ways. Your handouts and final slide (PowerPoint, Prezi) should have your phone, email, social media, etc. then stick around for questions. If someone says really nice things about you or your presentation make sure to capture that testimonial for use on your website, LinkedIn, etc.
Your speech or workshop should not be a sales platform. If you position yourself as a subject matter expert, as a leader in your field – people will be naturally drawn to you when they need your services. You’ll have a line of audience members with their calendars and checkbooks out. (Or just their smartphones, because who uses a paper calendar anymore?)
Are you a beginning speaker? I’d be happy to chat with you. Let’s get a cup of coffee, Skype, or schedule a phone call.
Terra L. Fletcher
518 S. Union Street Shawano WI, 54166