To prevent losing your composure when you’re speaking, you should master some techniques to handle the most common public speaking challenges: an audience that has lost focus, an uncooperative audience, an audience with difficult questions, and hecklers.
Regaining an audience’s attention
If you’re giving a presentation late in the day or just after lunch, you may be dealing with a fatigued or unfocused audience before you even begin speaking. In that case, try some techniques to revitalize your listeners before you start:
You can state the obvious — that you recognize it’s difficult to stay interested sometimes. Acknowledging that people seem unfocused could cause your audience to improve their manners and perk up.
You can ask everyone to stand and move around a bit. Moving around can revitalize a tired group. You can inject energy into the situation by getting excited, speaking with passion, or using humor. Try to prepare a few witty statements you can use to engage your audience.
A change in activity can stimulate people. You can tell them to write down everything you’re about to say — your top three key messages for them to take away. The promise of receiving important information may pique their interest.
Sometimes, you may be well into a presentation when the audience begins to lose focus. You’ll know that you’re losing them because they stop making eye contact or laughing at your humor. Or you might hear people at the back talking. Sometimes you may feel the atmosphere changing, or the energy you were getting from your audience may start fading away.
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