7 simple ways to charm your audience

Just as cats are mesmerized by catnip, these simple tactics will help captivate your audience.

That’s exactly how I would describe cats with catnip.

Handling your audience, though, can be more difficult, like, say, herding cats. Try these tactics to pack an irresistible punch in your next presentation or talk:

1. Include the improbable. Think about all the presentations and speeches you’ve endured. Which surprised you? When speakers can unpack a surprise—especially an improbable reality, great contrast, or unlikely pairing or eventuality—the audience will be more likely to pay attention.

2. Tell a story about yourself. If you can share your embarrassments, hesitations, mistakes, missed opportunities, and “aha!” moments, your audience members will feel like they’ve gotten to know you better. Audiences love connecting with you in this way.

3. Show an invisible visual. Forget the slides. Show your audience members a picture they can see in their minds. Show them something you describe so vividly that it sticks with them. They’ll remember your talk long after the applause, and enjoy it more while it’s happening.

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