How to Engage a Bored Audience (and Make Them Excited!)
What would you do if you saw your audience yawning while you talked to them?
Engaging a bored audience can be a headache, and this comes without saying. Imagine performing a standup comedy, and nobody laughs at your joke. Embarrassing right?
We have tips and tricks to make people laugh at your jokes instead of you.
The success of any presentation lies in what your audience thinks about you. Therefore, never underestimate the power of your audience. Your goal should be to deliver your point while making your audience happy.
In this world of digital marketing, engaging your audience should be your strongest skill. Here is what you should do if you don’t have it.
7 Ways to Engaged a Bored Audience
1. Shock Your Audience
Presenting by merely speaking, showing slides, and using visual aids, is what everyone does. There is nothing new in this, and the audience loses attention quickly. Hence, there should be something else that keeps your audience awake.
The initial five to 10 minutes of a presentation is when you either gain your audience or lose it. Your audience is most attentive at this point.
Hence, it is the best period to attract your audience to what you are saying. Once you hook your audience, you can easily hold their attention throughout the presentation.
The best way to do so is to say something shocking. Intrigue your audience. Say something unexpected (though positive) that will draw your audience towards you and make them want to listen more to your words.
Once you have all their attention, you can go on and continue your presentation or speech but never lose the audience's attention.
2. Ask Questions
Asking your audience questions is a known technique for engaging your audience.
When you ask your audience questions, people automatically begin to think about the answer. Then, they start to volunteer answers. It increases the interaction between you and your audience.
You perform better when you have a great connection between you and your audience. People never want to listen to someone they don't feel connected to. Hence, you must engage your audience as much as you can.
Another way of engaging the audience is picking people out of the crowd to answer. You can ask a question and tell them you are waiting for an answer.
After some time, you can pick out a person from the crowd who seems willing to answer. This act will motivate other people in the group to stand and give their opinion on your question.
However, do not ask too many questions. Too many questions can lead to irritation. Your audience might start getting restless when they know you will ask questions one after another.
People who do not like public speaking or are shy find it very irritating to answer publically. Hence, such an interactive environment can become troublesome for introverts.
Therefore, you need to understand that your audience does not consist of merely one type of people. You need to be equally attentive to everyone.
3. Tell a Story
You've heard the old saying: "A good story is like a mirror; it reflects back to you what is in your heart."
We think that's true. And when it comes to engaging an audience, we know stories are a powerful tool for getting people's attention.
People tend to listen more to the stories than anything else. It is because we, as humans, relate more to stories. Stories either strike our old memories or imaginary world; both ways, we feel relatable.
It is the biggest tool you can use during a presentation or a speech. Start your speech by saying you have an exciting story. Otherwise, you can put it in the middle of your speech or at the end.
Prove your point with the help of the story you are telling. Make sure your story is relatable and exciting.
A highly personal and long story without context can make your audience lose attention. The audience will start wondering why you are sharing your details with them. Hence, you need to create a balance everywhere in your speech.
Here are some tips for telling a story to your audience. Firstly, make sure the audience understands what they're hearing; make sure they can visualize what you're describing.
Secondly, tell stories that connect with your audience's lives—stories about things they care about or people they know (or might become). Giving dreams to your audience always wins.
4. Work on Your Tone
Engaging your audience is essential when you're giving a presentation or writing an article. The key to doing so is how you speak: your voice and tone bring ups and downs.
Your audience will get sleepy if you are constantly speaking in one tone. People lose attention when nothing is exciting. Hence, it is necessary that you bring the tone people will want to listen to.
Raise your voice when you are talking about passions or something exciting. Draw the audience's attention by speaking passionately.
Your voice should show that you are motivated and excited if you are talking about ambitions. Speaking in a low tone will make people think there is no emotional attachment behind your speech.
When speaking about something emotional or heart-wrenching, lower your voice—speaking softly on the softer topics. Shouting about anything emotional will make people think you are insensitive.
For instance, when speaking on a topic that holds significant meaning for you or someone close to you, such as a loved one who has died, speak with a clear voice that is strong enough to be heard over the din of noise around you.
If you doubt what you are saying, speak softer so that others can also engage.
In short, you must always care what your audience thinks about you. You should always act on generating positive thoughts about yourself in your audience's head.
5. Crack Jokes
You've got a lot to say, so you'll need some way to keep your audience engaged. Engaging an audience means getting them to laugh and smile during your presentation.
It's not just about being funny--it's also essential that you're able to make your point in a way that gets them on board with the problem or solution you're proposing.
Cracking jokes will never get old or out of fashion. All types of human psychology love something to laugh at. All audiences gravitate more to people who make them laugh.
Also, they will feel more connected to you after that. Hence, always prepare some good jokes to add a humorous touch to your speech.
It's not enough to get your point across. You want to engage your audience, and humor is a powerful tool for that.
Here is the easiest hack: Channel your inner comedian and make a list of jokes in advance. It will help you come up with ideas on the fly during your presentation and give you something funny to say when you run out of steam.
Secondly, build rapport with your audience before you deliver any punchlines. You can do this by asking questions that invite conversation and give them a chance to share personal experiences. It will help them connect with what you're saying.
Lastly, once they're engaged in conversation, use these opportunities as teaching moments. Explain why certain things are funny or essential so that everyone gets the joke together as a team rather than just one person laughing at another person's joke.
Delivering the joke is also a key. You should deliver that joke most naturally. Do not place jokes in the middle of a conversation when they are unrelated. Turn the speech in such a way that you can naturally fix the joke.
6. Have Some Activity
Inducing an activity in the middle of your speech can wake up your sleeping audience. Ensure your audience is not sitting back and listening passively, like watching television instead of interacting in a conversation.
Engage your audience by starting a small exercise. For instance, give paper and pen to your audience and tell people to write their opinion about the topic.
Such a small activity will increase audience engagement. People will start paying more attention, and those sleeping will surely get up.
The meaning of the activity is to interact with your audience. People will start asking you questions, and this will increase your connection. Hence, it is always an excellent way to engage your bored audience by pushing them to do something.
7. Turn Your Speech Into a Conversation
There is a huge difference between lecturing and having a conversation. People tend to get bored by lectures but find it interesting to have a conversation. You need to understand the difference between both things.
While delivering a speech, ensure that it is more inclined towards being a conversation.
Interaction is the key. It is crucial when explaining complex things or ideas in simple terms (e.g., using charts). Use visual aids like charts, graphs, or images that help communicate complicated concepts in an easy-to-understand way (but don't rely solely on them!).
Prove your point while being constantly connected with your audience. Turn the speech into a conversation and give your audience chances to speak.
You can deliver your topic and ask the audience's opinion. Always respect your audience's view. If you disagree, persuade them to believe you most humbly. Pushing your opinion on the audience won't help.
Keep asking if anyone has to say anything about what you just delivered. In short, make your audience a part of your speech. Make your audience feel that it is equally welcomed into a conversation.
Listen to your audience's part of the conversation as attentively as you want your part to be listened to. It will increase their respect for you, and that's all you want.
Key Points to Remember
Before heading out for a presentation or speech, you need to remember a few things.
Firstly, your success lies in the heads and hands of your audience. They may not physically boo you off the stage, but you will feel the energy shift when they do not connect with what you say. Don’t be a know-it-all who can’t engage with the audience.
Secondly, understanding your audience is essential. Do some homework on your audience. Understand your audience's demographics, and understand from what age and class it belongs. You can not use the same tactics for an audience of all ages.
For instance, you can not engage your audience with jokes if they belong to ages seven to eight, and it is more likely that they will not understand. However, you can surely intrigue them with something exciting. You can engage them by giving out some chocolates at the beginning of your session.
Similarly, if your audience consists of people aged 60-70, you can not help them with some chocolates. In short, understanding who you are conversing with is essential. There is always a way to excite your audience; it will just need some work and time to get them out of their not-interested zone.
Last but not least, be natural. Deliver your speech as naturally and confidently as you can. People will always know when you are pushing or forcing things. Hence, make it look natural, and believe in yourself!
Conclusion: How to Engage a Bored Audience
It is not rare for people to ask how to engage a boring audience. It is primarily said that there is nothing such as a boring topic. Your approach to it makes it either exciting or boring, challenging or easy.
If you do not work on pleasing your audience, no one will remember what you taught in the speech. Worse, no one will want to listen to you in the future.
We know it can be hard to find that balance between serious and lightheartedness, especially when speaking about something serious. But we've compiled some tips for keeping your audience engaged and ensuring they don't leave feeling bored!