A recent study shows that 64% of people believe that a flexible presentation with two-way interaction is more engaging than a standard presentation. Knowing this information means we must make a shift in the rigidity of our presentations. As culture changes, so must our ability to interact with our audiences as they desire a conversation rather than a lecture.
However, the ability to be flexible with your presentation can be difficult to master. After all, how can you practice flexibility? While it may seem like a challenge, it is definitely possible. We put together a few tips on how to hone your ability to be flexible during any presentation.
Memorize your content.
One of the biggest hang ups to flexibility during a presentation is being forced to stay glued to your notes. Becoming an expert at your content allows you to bounce around and answer questions as you see fit. This also allows you to adapt on the fly based on time and engagement. If you are losing your audience, it would be wise to move ahead; on the flip side, if your audience is connected in and listening, camp out for a bit on that content. By memorizing your content, you know what is coming and how to adapt if needed.
Pay attention to your audience.
A key to flexibility when delivering a presentation is the ability to read your audience. You must have a pulse on how they are engaging and connecting with you in order to know how you should interact. Remember, a great presentation should feel like a conversation. And great conversations go both ways. Be sure to allow your audience time to speak throughout and give real time feedback on what you are sharing. By doing this, you set yourself up to connect on a deeper level. Don’t get tunnel vision when you’re presenting. Your best asset for engagement is sitting right in front of you.
Create intentional flexibility.
Want to know a secret? Some of the most flexible presenters in the world are not all the flexible. That’s right – because sometimes being flexible means you have spent a lot of time being intentional. By creating intentional moments of flexibility, you allow yourself to keep your presentation structured while reserving the ability to be organic. We recommend building in moments in your presentation where you could choose one of two paths depending on your audience and how they are connecting with your presentation. By building in these junctures, you allow yourself to make adjustments on the fly and give the illusion of flexibility and two-way connection while still operating within structured content.
Flexibility is a vital tool for any presenter. It allows the presenter to be connected to their audience while continuing to present their content in a compelling way. While allowing yourself to be flexible requires effort on the front end of any presentation, it leads to a greater return on investment for all presentations. So, put in the effort and watch as your audience engages on a deeper and more long-term level.
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