Presentation topic is a sensitive issue for me, because I like to learn new stuff so I am constantly joining training sessions, conferences and other learning sessions. I am at the same time also delivering different kind of workshops, so I have experienced both sides.
I also delivered seminars to kids. Here are the things very interesting, because if they get bored they do not have phones to play with, they start doing different staff, play, talk, so you are literally not able to continue. Maybe grown ups should do the same just to give a clear hint to the speaker, that he should reconsider his speech.
What can you do to create a safe and pleasant environment for a learning opportunity:
- Announce upfront the organizational part: brakes when phone, toilettes, food, beverage will be available, how the materials will be spread etc. Set rules for how you interact, if feedback is allowed and under what conditions. Very important! Keep the time frame that you agreed upon.
- Present yourself shortly and the context, so people won’t start to look you up.
- Show the topics that your presentation will cover and ask for feedback if it is of interest, if there are maybe other interesting topics. Consider the feedback, by telling that it will be covered during the presentations or Q&A sessions or if the case invite to ask questions during the presentation. If your presentation doesn’t cover the interest area, have the courage to drop it and start an interactive session, it will be much more rewarding for both parties.
- Be in a deep listening mode with the public. Presentations are dynamic, nowadays communication is expected to come from both sides. Check the body language of the people, look for signs. Are they yawning? Do not be afraid to react. You are there to bring some value to the people, so stop and ask. Are we going in the right direction? Is there something else you wish to know? Do we need to have a break earlier?
- To be able to do all that, forget about yourself. What do they think about me? Am I dressed properly? Will they recommend me? All this questions will just prohibit you from performing at your best. Just ask yourself and them one question: How can I serve you today?
I hope this helps, contact me I am really curious about your comments.