My career has always consisted of presenting to large groups of people, senior execs and even a select few presentations to F500 board members.  I’m a career sales professional and sales executive.  Sales presentations are important but it’s not just about getting them to buy your product or solution, rather it starts with getting them engaged and starting to like and trust you. Here are some tips and techniques that I use to engage the audience effectively and get my message across: 1. Start Strong- There’s only one chance to make a good first impression and nothing is truer in presenting. Asking a provocative question or sharing a humorous anecdote is a god way to start a presentation. Start with something that is relevant to your audience, current and tasteful and you probably have earned yourself the initial attention of the audience.

2. Tell an Interesting Story- People love a good story. It has to be captivating and engaging. It’s also fun to tell a story with a twist that catches the audience by surprise as everyone likes to fast forward in their brain and guess the ending.  The story has to be succinct and clear to understand. Good storytellers (aka-presenters) build to a crescendo and close the story with a climax.  The story should have a point or lesson, and the point of your story is an illustration of what you are trying to convey in your overall presentation.

3. Interact with the Audience- No one likes being lectured to. The fastest way to lose an audience is to give a long, dry monotonous speech. Ask insightful questions, give pop quizzes, polls, surveys and then share facts related to the key topic. Think of clever ways to get the audience involved and interacting, it’s an essential ingredient for presentation success. Ask for feedback after the presentation and always extend an invitation for individual dialog for anyone that’s interested.

4. A Meaningful Conversation Between Two- Whether you are presenting to one person, hundreds or thousands, you should always try to visualize that you are conducting a meaningful conversation with one person in the audience. And that you are speaking directly to that one person and they are incredibly engaged in the conversation.  That visualization process helps you focus your presentation.  Your presentation and key topic is exactly what they are interested in. Even to the extent that you answer hypothetical questions that someone who is really interested in your presentation and subject would ask.

5. Have Fun!- The best presenters genuinely appear to be having fun during the presentation. The truth is that they probably are having fun because it’s rewarding and enjoyable to engage an audience and get positive feedback; whether you are a singer, a comedian or a sales person. Smiles and laughter can absolutely be contagious. When you are having fun as the presenter, it sets the tone for the audience that it’s okay for them to have fun to. In fact, good presenters may insist on the audience having fun!