Meeting MPI Toronto - March/April 2016 - (Page 17)
Jack Muskat, Ph.D
here is nothing more disastrous for a speaker than
to lose his or her audience. It doesn't matter how
important the topic, how fancy the venue or how
interested the audience, you only get about 17
seconds to capture their attention. If you get it right, the
audience will go away feeling inspired, moved, and grateful.
Get it wrong, and they won't even remember your name.
The stakes are that high!
PowerPoint has been around for nearly 20 years, yet
we still are subjected to presentations by speakers who
read every tiny word on their 136-slide deck - clueless
about how we absorb and retain information. Speakers are
unaware that most of us can remember no more than seven
numbers at a time, or that information presented visually
is retained 80 per cent better than the same information
presented orally. As the old Chinese proverb says: "I hear
and I forget; I see and I remember."
There are dozens of tips on how to engage an audience,
ranging from the ABC's of speaking (Accuracy, Brevity,
Clarity) to the old Dale Carnegie quote: "Tell them what you
are going to say, say it, then tell them what you've said."
All of these tips are based more or less on four "core"
principles of learning and human behaviour:
CAPTURE THEIR ATTENTION - People learn only
when they are paying attention, and the best way to
do that is to make sure your slides, lighting, podium,
appearance, voice, tone, manner and energy are
"visually arresting" and "emotionally kinetic." We call
this "actor's energy" and unless you become the
centre of attention you will not get theirs. Remember,
you only have 17 seconds to do this.
ORGANIZE THEIR THINKING - Present a few
ideas well. This is where you "engage their minds" by
helping them see what you are going to talk about.
Use strong visuals and topic headings that I call
"advance organizers." You have now oriented their
thinking to what you are going to say. This is what Dale
Carnegie is getting at when he says: "Today I am going
to talk about X, what it means, and why X is important
GAUGE THEIR REACTION - Now you have to
"engage their hearts" by reaching out to them and
asking for their feedback, comments, and questions.
We call it 'taking the pulse' of the audience, but it is they
who are taking your pulse. They want to know that you
care about them, or they won't care about what you have
to say. That is why you have to take a moment to reflect
on what they are saying to you and be ready to use it in
your concluding remarks. It only takes a minute to ask,
"Are there any questions or concerns that I have not
mentioned that are important to you?" How many times
have we watched speakers race to the finish line without
stopping to ask if we want to come along for the ride?
EXPLAIN AND SUMMARIZE - This is where you
pull everything together, like the last episode of a great
TV series. Everything is familiar but with a different
spin. You have to take what you have heard from the
audience and integrate it into your summary and make
it special for them. No one wants to hear a canned
speech. They want to leave with at least one new
thought or idea that speaks to their own needs.
This is the CORE approach to audience engagement.
A good speech is like a musical program; each piece has
been carefully selected to stand on its own, but is part of the
whole. Follow this process and your presentation will sing
out loud and clear. ●
Jack Muskat, Ph.D., is a Toronto-based organizational
psychologist, writer and speaker with over 25 years consulting
and business experience with individuals and organizations,
and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
www.facebook.com/MPIToronto | twitter.com/MPIToronto | www.mpitoronto.org | MEETING * 17
Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Meeting MPI Toronto - March/April 2016
Welcome, New Members!
Selling to the Buyers of Today
Best Bar Venues in Toronto for Your Next Unique Event
Myth vs. Reality: Debunking Planner Stereotypes
How to Keep Your Audience Awake
The Best Come From Ontario’s Event Management Programs
Best Tips for Industry Newcomers
Tools to Help You Run Your Business in 2016
Transforming the Attendee Experience with Creative Show-Floor Design
Chapter Speaks: What is the Best MPI Event You Ever Attended?
Meeting MPI Toronto - March/April 2016