How to keep your Audience engaged

The purpose of a presentation is, to inspire the audience to think and act differently.
You achieve that by building up a certain tension in your talk. The better you are at building this tension, the better the results of your speaking efforts; more clients, more impact and more new speaking gigs.
 
Tension is bending the bow that starts with realization [Oh, is that how it is – Oh, that’s me! – Oh, it really can change, etc] and works towards the motivation and then action. This article is about an issue that we often do not see and that reduces this much-needed tension immediately.
 
Even the most seasoned speaker has to deal with this. Just a matter of accepting it and dealing with it, is what they say.
But what is that ‘issue’ exactly? And how do you deal with it?
 
20 minutes
I’m talking about THE 20-minute rule! No matter how enthusiastic or professional you are, after every 20 minutes the attention and involvement of your audience weaken.

This has nothing to do with an after-lunch dip or hot sunshine in the room; often there don’t even need to be any circumstances. People just cannot listen to something for more than 20 minutes! Perhaps you have experienced this already?
Here are three powerful tips for dealing with this issue:
 
1) Learn how to recognize the rule and relax knowing that it isn’t you; in that case you do not need to look for a cause or blame yourself. For me, this was a real eye-opener and a great relief! For a very long time, I thought it was my fault when people would start to daydream or check their cell phones after 20 minutes. Perhaps I wasn’t fascinating enough or I failed in connecting with them.
 
2) When planning, use 20-minute packages. If you book a presentation, agree on a 20-minute or 40-minute presentation, instead of one for 30 minutes. And if you are organizing your own event or seminar, plan in chunks of 20 minutes! You are unconsciously preparing to change gear every 20 minutes.
 
3) Divide your presentation in parts of 18-20 minutes and switch over to something else.
For example:
• Let your audience do an exercise or bring them otherwise physically into action [change chairs]
• Surprise your audience if it fits your style [hand out something]
• Bring an audience member to the front and do a make-over [demo]
• Show a short video
• Let someone else say something [let your audience share something]
 
Just being aware of this ‘mechanism’ and adding small changes can improve your presentation and impact drastically.

Your Assignment

Allow room for your own creativity by asking yourself the question how can I switch?
Your presentation will get more character and more tension. Guaranteed!
Good luck with your personalized 20-minute rule and please, share how this rule worked for you, below.

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