Web resource for engaging the audience

Ciara Byrne of Fast Company has compiled several tips from speaker and author Nancy Duarte about helping speakers make technical material more engaging for their audience. While these tips are great for a class full of business or science majors, they would apply equally to any public speaking classroom where students are falling into a pattern of dull speeches.

Some of the tips I found most compelling:

  • Avoid PowerPoints full of bullets. Tell a story with a hero — and the hero is not the speaker but the audience.
  • The audience is there to hear you speak, not to have the slides speak for you.
  • Create contrast. When something changes in your presentation, the audience is re-engaged.

The story also has some good examples to share with a technical-minded audience.

If you have a class of science or business majors, this could be a chance to create an in-class activity (or longer homework assignment) as well. Give students a transcript of a dull grant-request presentation, for example, and have them look for ways to apply some of these suggestions. A failed bid from a “Shark Tank”-type of television show could work.

Link to article

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About teachingpublicspeaking

I believe public speaking can go from most dreaded class to favorite class. I'm a former public speaking college instructor who spent years seeking out activities, assignments and examples to make the class interactive as well as educational -- they are collected here. I welcome suggestions for additions.

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