12 ways to keep your audience awake (literally)

Use these tactics during your next talk if you don’t want your audience to nod off while you speak.

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“I want to engage my audience,” is what more than half of the presenters I coach tell me.

Here’s what I tell them:

Many people in your audience are tired—probably at least a third of them just don’t get enough sleep. They’re sitting there hoping they won’t embarrass themselves by nodding off. Part of your job is to help them stay awake, to actually pay attention and consider what you are saying. Next time you practice a presentation, note how many of the following strategies you actually use. Then add a couple more.

1. Start by telling your audience what they will take away from your talk.

What are three things worth paying attention to and remembering? One of my talks starts with: “When you leave after this hour-and-a-half workshop, you will know how to (1) organize a talk and save hours of time; (2) use my professionally designed slides to categorize information on your slides and keep your audience engaged; and (3) feel more confident and excited about giving a presentation.

2. Speak less than the time allotted.

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