Have You Gone the Extra Mile?
“Do more than is required. What is the distance between someone who achieves their goals consistently and those who spend their lives and careers merely following? The extra mile.”– Gary Ryan Blair, author and goals expert
Have you ever heard the expression, “There are no traffic jams on the extra mile.”
A great way to get noticed quickly in your speaking career is to do more than what is expected. Go the extra mile.
Below are three things you can incorporate into your speaking that will enhance audience engagement.
Meet the Attendees Before Your Presentation
Most speakers meet attendees after their presentations. Have you ever thought about meeting the attendees before your presentation? You will reap significant advantages if you do this.
You’ve done all the research on your audience. You know who they are, their education level, and how they feel about your speaking subject. However, you can do no more accurate research than speaking to your audience before your presentation.
In speaking to your audience, you accomplish the following, which you cannot achieve in any other way:
Your audience gets to see you up close and personal. When you deliver your presentation, you will be viewed by each audience member as talking to them directly. As a result, your audience engagement will be enhanced.
You find out their first names you can use when you engage with them during your presentation. In his famous book, How to Win Friends and Influence People, Dale Carnegie says, “The sweetest sound to anyone is their name.” Referring to audience members by name shows respect and enhances your audience engagement. People listen to people who show them respect.
You find particulars about audience members “from the horse’s mouth.” By talking to your audience before your presentation, you are not just researching generalities about your audience. Instead, you are researching specifics about individual audience members that you can use to modify your presentation to make it more relevant to the attendees.
So what questions can you ask of audience members before your presentation? Below are a few questions to get you started, but they are by no means the extent of the questions you can ask:
Why are you attending my presentation on
Do you have an opinion on the subject of my presentation?
What two items are you hoping to take from my presentation?
Don’t lose this chance to enhance engagement with your audience. Always talk to audience members before your presentation.
So, you can reap the benefits by talking to your audience before your presentation – go the extra mile.
So how do you keep your audience engaged throughout your presentation? You vary the methods by which you deliver your presentation.
Vary Your Presentation Method
According to The Treetop Therapy Company attention spans of humans can vary from two seconds to twenty minutes. Tree Top also says the attention span of humans decreased by 25% from the year 2000 to the year 2015. So what does this mean for you as a speaker? You will lose audience members if you don’t vary your presentation delivery method often.
So, what do I mean by varying your presentation delivery method?
The method of presentation delivery that is most familiar to your audience members is simply you talking and them listening. I can tell you through a vast amount of experience that if you rely solely on this presentation delivery method, you will lose half to three-quarters and maybe more of your audience by the time you finish your presentation. So you want to avoid this.
So, what are other presentation delivery methods you can use to keep audience members’ attention? Below are a few you should try:
Intersperse short videos emphasizing the point you just made. Videos grab the attention of your audience. So don’t ignore videos in your presentation delivery.
Ask your audience questions about the point you just made. There will be more than one audience member anxious to answer your question. Start a discussion on audience member answers.
Divide your audience members into small groups and give them an exercise to discuss amongst other small group members. The next part is essential: Give each small group time to brief what they discussed in their small group.
Excellent speakers know what to do when their audiences are “tuning out.” They change their presentation delivery method to bring the mental awareness of audience members back to their presentation subject.
So, going the extra mile means talking to your audience before your presentation and varying your delivery.
The last way to go the extra mile in your speaking is to give your audience something to take away that improves their personal and professional lives.
Give Your Audience Free Stuff
Give something away to your audience during and at the end of your presentation that they are not expecting.
Have you ever asked yourself after a presentation you attended, “That was a great presentation. Now what?” You would not be alone in this thinking. The key for you as a speaker is to answer the “Now what?” question.
In your presentation closing, you should give your audience three courses of action they should implement to get the most out of your presentation. Make sure the courses of action are SMART (Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound). Without making the courses of action SMART, your audience will not be implement them.
So, it’s essential to show your audience how your presentation is relevant to their personal and professional lives and how to implement what you say.
In the same vein of giving your audience something they are not expecting, how about using technology to provide them with something free?
You can send them a free report on a speaking subject like reducing fear of speaking, how to inject more gestures in their presentations, or how to use pauses to emphasize different parts of their presentations.
One way to do this is to post a presentation report to an online tool like Dropbox and then use a service where they can send a text to a certain number which results in audience members getting a test with the link to the Dropbox location where the report is stored.
Finally, another free item you can give them is a free hour of your time in a Zoom meeting to ask whatever questions they have about public speaking.
These are just three examples of how to give your audience something they are not expecting. I am sure you can think of more freebies.
So, going the extra mile means talking to your audience before your presentation, varying your delivery, and giving your audience something free they are not expecting.
There genuinely are no traffic jams on the extra mile.
By going the extra mile, you can stand out in the minds of your audience!
Call to Action
Before your presentations, mix with your audience to enhance engagement with them, discover their names so you can refer to them by name during your presentation, and find out what they think about your subject.
In your presentations, vary your delivery by interspersing relevant short videos, asking your audience questions, and using small group discussions with brief-outs.
Give your audience members something they are not expecting in your presentation, like calls to action, a free report on a speaking subject, and a free one-on-one hour of your presentation advice time in a Zoom meeting.
“If you want to succeed at any job, make yourself invaluable. Go the extra mile; make them never be able to imagine what life without you there would be like.”– Ross Matthews, productivity expert
Frank DiBartolomeo is a retired U.S. Air Force Lieutenant Colonel and award-winning speaker, presentation and interview skills coach, and Professional Member of the National Speakers Association. He was awarded Toastmasters International’s highest individual award, Distinguished Toastmaster because of his outstanding work in public speaking and leadership.
Frank formed DiBartolomeo Consulting International (DCI), LLC (www.speakleadandsucceed.com) in 2007. The mission of DCI is to help technical professionals to inspire, motivate, and influence their colleagues and other technical professionals by improving their presentation skills, communication, and personal presence. Reach Frank at firstname.lastname@example.org and (703) 509-4424.
Don’t miss Frank DiBartolomeo’s latest book!
“Speak Well and Prosper: Tips, Tools, and Techniques for Better Presentations”