Make your talk engaging – 5 tips to add emotional elements (PACE approach: part 4)

5 boiled eggs with different facial expression drawn on themWhen you present at work (or at a conference or other speaking event), do you aim to make people feel some­thing specific?

If so, you’ll give yourself a far higher chance of engaging people, and achieving your talk’s goal. But if you don’t, your talk’s likely to be quickly forgotten – in less time than it took you to present!

Not convinced? Well, many speaking professionals suggest using emotional elements. For instance, in his book The Naked Presenter, Garr Reynolds writes:

“Content alone is never sufficient.
We need an emotional connection…”
Garr Reynolds

And former president of the National Speakers’ Association, Patricia Fripp says:
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Want to transform your audience? Here’s how… [Video by @PhilPresents]

Semi-submerged frog with a butterfly perched on its headWhen you present (or give a speech), do you struggle to have the impact you’d like?

If so, you’re not alone – I’d say the vast majority of presenters have that problem.

And I’m one of them!

So I was stoked to see a recent TEDx talk that shares a simple yet powerful tool to fix that issue.

The talk’s by speaker-coach Phil Waknell, who says your presentation should transform your audience – not just inform them.

Phil sees the process like this:

“To take your audience on a transformational journey,
you first need to work out where they are starting from”
Phil Waknell – at 5:35
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Yes! People’s starting point – that’s one of the keys to making your talk truly audience-focused.

A few years ago, Chris Anderson (curator of TED) shared a similar thought:

“You’ve got to start where they are, and you’ve
got to give them a reason to come with you”
Chris Anderson

Phil’s TEDx talk gives you a neat technique that lets you do exactly that. So, want to see his talk?

To save you time, the clip below’s just 4 minutes long, because it jumps straight to Phil’s main point (skipping both the first 5 minutes and last 5 minutes of his talk).

But if you want, you can always click the progress bar to jump to other parts of the full 15-minute video. (For instance, he goes on to finish the example he started.)

 

What’s in the clip?Scroll to top ↑

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Write better talks – in just 4 steps (by @HughCulver)

Muslim girl writing the word "better" on a blackboardSometimes, do you have trouble engaging people when you’re presenting?

Here’s a great way to fix that:
Give your talk a strong structure.

If you use the structure shared in this post:

  • You’ll engage people right from the start.
  • You’ll keep them hooked right to the end.
  • They’re more likely to think the content you’re presenting’s just what they need.

Actually, you’ll find 2 things in this post that you can use to build a better talk:

  • A strong structure for the content you present.
  • A 4-step method for writing your speeches (and e-books, newsletters, etc).

Both are set out in the 15-minute video below, by speaker-coach Hugh Culver:

In a hurry? You can skip the video’s intro (of 3½ minutes).
And if you watch on Vimeo, you can even speed up playback.

 
I came across Hugh’s video a while ago, and was really impressed with how audience-focused the structure is that he presents. I also like that he uses just 4 steps to map out the writing process:

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6 tips to nail your conference speech, by Colin James [Video]

Person holding nails between their teethBeing asked to give a workshop or presentation at a conference is a fantastic opportunity. What a great way to get you and your message more widely known in your industry!

So if you’re invited to speak at a conference, what specific steps can you take to make the most of the event?

Well, to help you nail your talk, try the 6 tips in this 2-minute video by Colin James:

Colin’s tips are:
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Declutter your talk’s title! [A makeover with @LMFDesign]

Long-stemmed rose with scissors cutting the stem in halfWhich of the many aspects of giving a presentation are you best at?

I’d say I’m best at writing a strong message, and that means I often focus on a talk’s words. So when presentation blogger Laura Foley posted her neat makeover of a title slide, I thought hard about the text on that slide.

In this post, we’ll look at:
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Presenting? Don’t shy away from your Q&A – part 2 [Video]

Close-up of Monopoly game board showing a large question mark and the word "Chance"What do you think it is about answering audience questions that makes many speakers nervous?

I’d say it’s the unpredictability – and having to respond at a moment’s notice.

But, if you’ve read my last post, you’ll know I mentioned 3 steps you can use to help you master your Q&A, from the late Denise Graveline:
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Presenting? Don’t shy away from your Q&A – part 1 [Video]

Close-up of Monopoly game board showing a large question mark and the word "Chance"What’s your attitude to the Q&A session when you give a speech or presentation?

If you’re like most speakers, you likely feel a bit nervous about giving your talk, but more nervous about taking questions!

After all, if you think of questions negatively, they can seem like tests. And the people asking them can seem to be doubting your expertise.

So, you might fear scenarios like these:

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Grab ’em when you present – 2 quick tricks for you, by Marcus Sheridan @TheSalesLion [Video]

Close-up of falcon's talonsWhen you’re presenting, how do you keep your audience engaged? What do you do, exactly?

Here’s one of the best ways to engage people – yet it’s one of the most human, too, so it’s among the simplest:

Make your talk conversational.

You might still wonder how you should do that though.

So (as explained in more detail in that link), I like to split the process into 3 levels:

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You’ve 3 gifts for your audience. How much should you give them? That depends…

3 wrapped giftsYou might’ve heard presentation coaches say your talk should make your audience think, feel, or do something different. And I think they’re right – to a degree.

By the way, thinking, feeling or doing something different aren’t exactly what I meant as the gifts mentioned in this post’s title. More on that shortly.

Why do I add that proviso – “to a degree”? Well, there’s no point making your audience just think or feel something – unless they act on it too.

For instance, let’s look at an extreme example to illustrate my point:
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How to nail your talk in the first 30 secs, by @KindraMHall [Video]

Boy reading by torchlight under bed coversWhat is it about public speaking that you’d be most likely to search for on the internet? You might be surprised which of my posts gets the most search traffic

The most popular post on this blog – by far – is the one on awesome opening lines. And almost 60 people have commented on it, too. So it’s definitely a hot topic for public speakers.

But if you go looking for an opening line for your talk, I think you’re taking the wrong approach.

Why do I say that? Well, the combination of your audience and your topic are unique. So, if you search the internet for an opening line, you’re very unlikely to find a good fit for your specific talk.

What should you do, then? You’ll find one great answer in this 3-minute video by Kindra Hall.

Kindra reveals:
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