The Importance of Edutainment
Who else feels like they are inundated with new information on a daily basis? Well, I know that I do. Did you know, according to Statistic Brain, the average attention span in 2013 was 8 seconds? That is not a lot of time. So, as a professional who loves to educate the world I've learned that the best way to hold your audience's attention is to edutain them, which is the art of educating while entertaining. You can do this both in writing and in person and these pointers will help you with your next public speaking engagement.
Don't have boring material
You probably have fantastic content but if it's drowned out by boredom, you have nothing! If you are providing handouts, try not to make them a replica of your presentation. If people want a copy of your presentation, they can ask/you can offer the file at the end of your presentation. Try highlighting 1-2 key points under each topic, include an image or two and leave space so people can take notes and doodle (There are always a few doodlers in the crowd).
The same goes for your presentation (if you have one). Nothing is blander than screen after screen of plain text. You don't need to have every word you are going to say on the screen. Include 1 to 2 points but only use a few words. You can add transitions so the words magically appear on the screen. Also, people love images and videos. It's better for you to be talking to your audience and not just reading from your notes or slides. By having fewer words on the screen, your audience will pay more attention to you and what you are saying.
Have a kickass introduction
People want to know who you are. Maybe you want to share five quirky facts about your life and use images to prompt each fact? Maybe you play your favourite song when you walk in? Tell the journey (in only a few minutes) about how you got to where you are today and why you are sharing your unique knowledge. Try to be authentically you and create a memorable first impression.
Getting the audience to participate by asking them questions keeps them from zoning out. Try staying away from questions that have yes or no answers and take them on a journey to remember a time when XYZ happened. This will help build a relationship with your audience and their trust will grow stronger. These questions can be to spark a thought journey and don't necessarily require them to share their answers.
Make eye contact with everyone there
Sometimes we need to look down at out notes (or at the clock) but you want to connect with as many people as you can. Lock eyes for a few seconds and move on. If you feel like this may be uncomfortable for you, test it out at the grocery store or on the bus. Lock eyes for a few moments and look away. It's also best if you have a smile on your face when speaking and making eye contact.
Using humour is a great way to leave a lasting impression
People always remember when their presenter was funny or when they laughed. You don't need to fill your presentations with jokes but having a few one-liners is perfectly acceptable. Presentations don't always need to be serious and although you are nervous, by making jokes it may help ease your nerves. Laughter is the best medicine and if you can get the crowd chuckling, you know you are edutaining.
People can easily let their nerves get the best of them when presenting. Channel your nervous energy into delivering a great presentation full of energy. Leave your audience wanting to hire you and work with you again and again. By edutaining you will surely leave a lasting impression on your audience.