The more you can get your audience involved in your presentation, the stronger your connection with them. This is especially important the first time you present to a group.
Remember that building relationships is the foundation; you can’t get transactional until a relationship is pretty well established.
Some quick ideas for audience involvement:
1. Ask questions. Get them to raise their hands. Ask rhetorical questions you will deal with in your presentation. Remember it’s all about them, not about you.
2. Have them make lists. Lists of their top concerns, priorities, favorite things to do….think of some list that serves to get them thinking about your topic. Then you can ask questions about the lists and tie it into your presentation.
3. Give them a written exercise to do. It could be a creativity-builder, even if your talk is about financing a Caribbean resort. There are all sorts of brain exercises, one that’s super easy is a page full of circles. Ask the participants to draw things on the circles to make them into different objects (faces, soccer ball, globe, etc.) Make it a contest with a time limit.
4. Get everyone’s body moving. Ask everyone to stand up and stretch. You certainly don’t want your audience to feel sleepy.
5. Depending on the situation, you may want to ask your audience to relate to each another, do an exercise in pairs, or in groups of 3, depending on the size of your audience.
Your presentation is a tool to build community among the members of your audience and you. You have more leverage than you think.