Your correspondent is still diligently trekking through Dale Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People, and is still under the impression that the venerable book should be required reading for all. The little bits of wisdom Carnegie doles out are surprisingly commonsensical, something you’re sure you knew but hadn’t really given any conscious thought to whatsoever. The book has as a simple, yet poignant mission: to help people better understand how to connect with others. And because nothing is quite as important as that when it comes to giving an effective presentation, here are some tips on how to connect with your audience.

Begin with Friendliness

Principle 4 of the How to Win People to Your Way of Thinking section in Carnegie’s masterpiece is “Begin in a friendly way.” The easiest way to connect with your audience from the outset is to do just that. Be amiable and welcoming. Be down to earth and accessible. See what you can do to eliminate the divide between presenter and audience.

Your demeanor as a presenter is an infinitely important element in a presentation. It speaks volumes about you, sometimes revealing characteristics that are unbeknownst to yourself. Make sure your words, attitude and behavior is friendly and sympathetic. Never criticize, pander or berate. People don’t respond favorably to negativity. Instead, be interested and interesting, kill them with kindness and put on your most good-natured face.

Tell Your Stories

Another easy way to connect with your audience is by telling stories. Stories reveal something about yourself to the audience. They show that you’ve experienced this and that, thereby allowing your audience the chance to say “Me too!” Your audience is much more likely to be on your side if you give them a reason to root for you, so give a little of yourself to your audience. Open up to them; allow them to see you as a real person rather than a statuesque presenter. Avoid seeming like you’re on a pedestal above all the rest. Get on your audience’s level.

Importance is Integral

We’ve discussed the necessity of making your audience feel important in a previous blog post, and that message certainly applies here. Form a connection with the audience by being unwaveringly interested in them. People need, desire, and yearn to feel important, so show them that they are supremely important to you (after all, without them you wouldn’t be there in the first place). Present your content in a way that is particular to the audience you are speaking to; tailor your message to fit their needs.

Forming a connection with your audience is an essential component to giving a successful presentation. Peruse through Carnegie’s How to Win Friends and Influence People for more poignant tips on how to connect with others. Mr. Carnegie was masterful at the task, and if you take his advice to heart, you can be too.

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