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Reading your audience

From: PowerPoint Tips and Tricks for Business Presentations

Video: Reading your audience

Every speaker needs to continually pull the audience to sample their mood, patience, and understanding of your topic, basically to take their temperature. You can do this in a few different ways. Look for visual clues, ask the audience, or bring a friend. I will cover those methods and then I will suggest what you can do to improve the presentation. Let's talk about the first method, looking for visual clues. As you deliver, scan the audience to observe how they're reacting to your message. Their subtle clues can help you out.

Reading your audience

Every speaker needs to continually pull the audience to sample their mood, patience, and understanding of your topic, basically to take their temperature. You can do this in a few different ways. Look for visual clues, ask the audience, or bring a friend. I will cover those methods and then I will suggest what you can do to improve the presentation. Let's talk about the first method, looking for visual clues. As you deliver, scan the audience to observe how they're reacting to your message. Their subtle clues can help you out.

Now here are some definite signs that things might not be working out too well: whispering, excessive Use of mobile devices, doodling on the handouts--you'll have to walk around the audience to notice this--glossy-eyed stares and confused looks, giggling, or eye rolling, or anything else that shows distraction. As you can see, it's not just about noticing if people are bored or confused. Your audience might be distracted by something you said or any number of things. Another way to gauge your audience is simply to ask them.

This is especially helpful at the beginning of a presentation. Ask if they can hear you clearly, if they can see the display, and if they are comfortable. During the presentation, engage your audience with periodic questions to make sure they understand your message. This can also break up longer presentations by giving your audience an opportunity to interact. If you are particularly concerned, make sure someone is in the audience to give you a little support. Let them know that you're relying on them for their feedback. Workout some hand signals ahead a time.

The ones you will want are to talk louder or softer, talk faster or slower, time for break or to wrap things up. So now that you know what your audience is thinking, what do you do? The obvious ones, volume and speed, you know how to fix. If people look confused, start asking questions or find out where the confusion is. You might want to even repeat what you said or go into more detail, but always try to ask where they need help. If they are bored, distracted, or not 100 % focused on you, you are going to want to pull them back in.

Here are some suggestions: Ask questions, poll the audience and get them to raise their hand or to stand up, take a break, give the audience a group assignment. Do something intensely interactive, like a trivia game, a handout, or a puzzle or quiz. Tell a personal story. Ask for a testimonial, or segue into a video. Now, not all of these will work for your presentation or message, but consider what your plan B is before you begin. Repeat the feedback cycle often during your presentation and the audience will stay focused on your message.

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This video is part of

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PowerPoint Tips and Tricks for Business Presentations

50 video lessons · 19914 viewers

David Diskin
Author

 
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  1. 1m 47s
    1. Welcome
      47s
    2. Using the exercise files
      1m 0s
  2. 10m 43s
    1. Adding white space
      2m 13s
    2. Applying a transition
      2m 10s
    3. Reducing the text
      2m 37s
    4. Selecting objects with ease
      2m 26s
    5. Opening with Show
      1m 17s
  3. 15m 36s
    1. What's your point?
      2m 49s
    2. Getting in their heads
      2m 29s
    3. What's in it for them?
      1m 55s
    4. Piecing it together
      5m 49s
    5. Holding their hands
      2m 34s
  4. 30m 49s
    1. Understanding the importance of design
      4m 12s
    2. Using color and fonts
      3m 18s
    3. Maintaining consistency
      4m 57s
    4. Using photographs
      5m 21s
    5. Sharing data with charts
      5m 20s
    6. Making your data meaningful
      2m 23s
    7. Using diagrams and SmartArt
      5m 18s
  5. 46m 31s
    1. Breaking the slide into sections
      3m 56s
    2. Fine-tuning shapes and text boxes
      5m 43s
    3. Enhancing text boxes
      7m 46s
    4. Customizing layouts and templates
      6m 7s
    5. Building your own layouts
      4m 59s
    6. Animating bullets
      3m 12s
    7. Animating photos
      4m 56s
    8. Animating other objects
      5m 41s
    9. Inserting music and other audio elements
      4m 11s
  6. 16m 18s
    1. Taking control
      1m 46s
    2. Setting display resolution and improving clarity
      3m 18s
    3. Including hidden slides and custom shows
      4m 21s
    4. Utilizing speaker notes
      2m 17s
    5. Using Presenter view
      2m 2s
    6. Creating handouts
      2m 34s
  7. 27m 52s
    1. Planning the program
      3m 6s
    2. Using the presenter checklist
      2m 39s
    3. Knowing what to do when things go wrong
      5m 16s
    4. Sharing your message
      2m 40s
    5. Making the motions
      2m 0s
    6. Questions and answers
      1m 43s
    7. Reading your audience
      2m 41s
    8. Dealing with audience distractions
      3m 4s
    9. Setting up and tearing down
      4m 43s
  8. 19m 28s
    1. During the show
      1m 31s
    2. Creating a photo slideshow
      4m 8s
    3. Letting the slideshow be the star
      1m 41s
    4. Sharing with your audience
      6m 36s
    5. Keyboard and mouse tricks
      5m 32s
  9. 6m 30s
    1. The good, the bad, and the ugly: A recap
      5m 32s
    2. Additional resources
      58s

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