If you’ve been asked to speak at a conference or host a seminar, you may be shaking in your boots. Not only is the thought of speaking in public nerve-wracking, but being in charge of a seminar that no one wants to attend can be downright petrifying. Instead of spending your time wringing your hands, spend it preparing a seminar that people can’t stop talking about.
Here are five ways to spice up your presentation:
1.The 10 Minute Rule
The last time you sat through a seminar, did you find yourself constantly looking at the clock? The people who attend your lecture or presentation will be no different. If you want to keep people focused on the information that you’re providing, apply the ten-minute rule. To use the rule to your advantage, spend ten minutes speaking, give your audience a ten-minute activity, and allow ten minutes for discussion. Repeat this rotation throughout your presentation.
2.Lose the Ego
If you research the art of excellent presenting, you’ll discover that it’s advised to lose your ego. Introduce yourself, rather than having someone introduce you, and don’t spend a lengthy amount of time listing your credentials. Tell your audience who you are, where you’re from and what your seminar is about. While you may be proud of your five master’s degrees, very few people in your audience will be.
One of the worst things about sitting through a seminar, listening to someone else drone on is just that: sitting through a seminar, listening to someone else drone on. And on. By encouraging audience participation, you not only get your audience excited about the seminar, but you get to talk less; it’s a win-win. Instead of sitting your audience in rows, sit them at tables. Instead of putting employees or participants from one company at a single table, mix them up.
Everyone knows something that someone else doesn’t. As your participants to fill out a brief questionnaire, answering the question: What knowledge do I have to share about this topic? If you’re holding an all-day seminar, allow an hour or two after lunch for participants to share their answers among their table-mates. After participants at tables have shared, ask if anyone would like to share newfound knowledge with the entire audience. If no one wants to speak, move on; forcing people to speak in front of others will only make them uncomfortable.
Ask for a trusted friend or associate to video record your seminar. Edit the recording and put snippets on a DVD. Include photos from the event, audio recordings, other video recordings, relevant information and resources for further information on the disc. Have duplicates made and send one to every participant three to four weeks after your seminar. Include a thank-you note for attending and ask for feedback. This small step can be a great way to learn what attendees enjoyed and what you can improve upon in the future.
Your seminar doesn’t have to be the most-loathed event of the year. Spend a few weeks researching how to give a great presentation and design your seminar accordingly. The more your audience enjoys your presentation, the more you’ll enjoy giving it.
Ken Osteen is an authoring professional who writes for several DVD authoring services and dabbles in graphic design.