7 Ways to Keep Your Interactive Presentation from Being Awkward
Giving a presentation in front of your boss, coworkers, and clients can be an extremely nerve-wracking experience, even if you’re a public speaker who has given the same talk dozens of times. That’s because presentations are inherently awkward; with everyone focusing on you, you can never be completely sure if what you’re saying makes sense or if your body language is conveying the right message. To make sure your presentation stays on track and doesn’t get derailed by awkward moments, follow these seven tips to keep your presentation from being awkward.
1. Have an interactive presentation
When you have an interactive presentation, people will pay more attention. Instead of trying to gauge if they’re interested, you can easily tell if they’re bored. It also forces you to think on your feet and be spontaneous—and it gives them a chance to follow along by asking questions or making comments using the Q&A sessions. This makes it much less awkward and lets you focus on what’s really important: having a good conversation.
2. Eye contact is important
Make eye contact with your audience, it helps create an interactive environment where your audience is more likely to open up and participate. The easiest way is to look at someone in their eyes for about 2 seconds before moving on to another person.
3. Smile, it makes you look friendly
This makes it much easier for your audience to interact with you. Remember, even if you feel like you’re not getting good feedback, there are people out there who want to help you succeed! So encourage a positive atmosphere and you can count on some helpful thoughts and suggestions. And, of course, an easy way to smile is to find someone in the audience that seems interested in what you have to say; try looking at them when making a point or asking for their input.
4. Don’t be afraid to pause
Giving your audience time to think will make them more receptive to your message. Take pauses between points to help you speak at a steady pace and to let your presentation flow well.
5. Avoid Ums and Ahs
If you find yourself saying um or ah too much in a presentation, it can make you appear less confident than if you had said nothing at all. Instead of attempting to correct your speech errors on-the-fly, try rehearsing them out loud until they’re out of your vocabulary for good. The more comfortable you are with your speech and its flow, the more audiences will be able to focus on what you have to say—and not how well you present it.
6. Use adjectives instead of nouns as much as possible
A powerful and impressive presentation makes it easy for your audience to envision themselves in your world. That’s why adjectives are more powerful than nouns—and that’s why you should use them. Using adjectives instead of nouns makes it easier for your audience to connect with what you’re saying, and is especially important during interactive presentations, where your audience members can participate in discussions about content by raising their hands or answering questions posed by a moderator.
7. Practice, practice, practice!
Practice makes perfect. Practice your presentation in front of a mirror and ask for feedback from a close friend or family member. Be honest with yourself about what works and what doesn’t, and make adjustments based on their input. Then practice some more!
When you’re speaking to a large audience, it can feel very intimidating. However, presenting doesn’t have to be scary. With these seven tips in mind, your next presentation should feel much more interactive and comfortable for you and your audience. And that means less awkwardness overall!