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Quick Presentation Tips: The formula for making people listen

What you’re going to read here are presentation tips you’ve probably never seen before. In essence, you’re going to learn the formula for making people listen. Yes, there is one and yes, it does work. Try it one time and you’ll see. Here are five messages (based on the advice of speaker extraordinaire Ed Wohlmuth) you need to convey to listeners in order to get their rapt attention.

1. I will not waste your time.

Within the first few seconds of the presentation, you need to let everyone know about how long you’ll be speaking and what’s so interesting about the topic. Don’t make any promises you can’t keep.

2. I know what you know and I know more than that.

Let everyone know - that you know - how much expertise they have on the topic and that you plan to provide more.

3. This is my main point.

You want everyone to pay attention while you drive home your most important point. So it’s a good idea to give some indication as to what it is ahead of time. 4. This will be easy to follow.

Offering some kind of mental outline to participants at the outset keeps them on their toes.

4. This will be easy to follow.

Offering some kind of mental outline to participants at the outset keeps them on their toes.

5. Listen up - I’m just about finished.

Research shows that people perk up when they think the presentation is just about over. So it pays to let the audience know when you’re close to the end and then wrap it up in five minutes or less. The worst thing to do is indicate that you’re almost finished and then rattle on for another 20 minutes.

It’s all pretty simple.

The key to engaging participants is breaking the illusion of separation between you and them. You want each person to feel as if you are speaking directly to him or her. When they leave, you want them to be genuinely better off in some way - you want them to look forward to your next presentation.

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