What I learned from my dog about presenting


I have an elderly Bichon Frise, Gregory. At 17 years old, he is much slower than he used to be and now somewhat incontinent. For the past few years, he has decided that if we abandon him (or if he abandons himself), he goes somewhere to pee in the house.

If you abandon your audience, bad things will happen. I provide my clients with tools so they don’t abandon their audience.

Your audience members are unlikely to pee in the room, like Gregory does when I abandon him. They might however start scrolling on Facebook, thinking about what they will eat for their next meal, talking to each other during your presentation to set up a date, etc.

You may be abandoning your audience without realizing it.

• Do you look away from your audience at the notes on your screen, or above or below your screen?
• Do you focus so much on what you are saying that you forget there is an audience there at all?
• Do you overwhelm your audience with so much information that it feels like you are asking them to drink from a firehose?

5 tools to us to keep your audience focused on you (and not feeling abandoned)

1. Focus on your audience

Do you focus on you or on your audience?

If you want your audience to focus on you, you need to focus on them. Your audience is there to learn your key information. They want you to give an informative presentation that is memorable and engaging.

Noone walks into a presentation thinking
• “I hope the speaker is boring”
• “I hope the speaker is terrible”
• “I hope this presentation is a waste of my time”

By focusing on your audience, you can get out of your own head and remember you are there to provide value to your audience.


2. Bring the right level of nervous excitement

How nervous are you before you present?

You don’t want to be completely terrified and overwhelmed with nerves. You also don’t want no nerves at all. Nerves are normal and necessary. There are several things you can try to get to the right level of nervous excitement: say a mantra that causes a giggle, give yourself a butterfly hug, or even do intense exercise for 30 seconds.


3. Start by getting the audience’s attention

How do you start your presentations?

When you start your presentation, you need to get your audience’s attention. That means you shouldn’t start with an outline or facts or housekeeping details. Instead, start with a Challenging Story.


4. Use relevant stories throughout

Do you include stories in your informative presentations?

Stories are amazing for keeping your audience focused on you throughout the presentation. Stories actually affect the brain of the listener. There is an increase in hormones that increase focus and attention and that increase trust and connection. Including stories that tie to your key information will also ensure that your information is remembered.


5. Keep your slides simple

How simple are your slides?

Brain science tells us that the more text and data you have on your slides, the less people will remember. Keep your slides simple. Make sure any text is easily visible. Include an image and title on every slide with at most three very short bullet points.


Remember to keep your audience focused on you as the presenter so they don’t feel abandoned. Consider using all of the five tools I have shared.

Would you like some help making your informative or technical presentations memorable and engaging so your audience stays focused on you?

Follow me on LinkedIn so you’ll see more articles on how to make informative and technical presentations memorable and engaging. https://www.linkedin.com/in/bjbenham/

To find out how memorable and engaging your presentations already are, book a free 45-minute AMP Up Session with me. https://calendly.com/brenda-memorablepresenter/45min-amp_up