Captivating Your Audience as a Speaker

Crafting a speaking presentation can feel overwhelming and challenging when you want to make a lasting impact on your audience. If you are struggling with where to begin, here are six ways to create a presentation that will captivate your audience …

Every speaker dreams of crafting a presentation to captivate their audience and leave a lasting, life-changing impact. But when the time comes to prepare, it can feel overwhelming and challenging to know where to begin. Before you even start your preparation session, as I will outline below, you will want to be sure you understand the details of your presentation and a clear picture of your audience. Once you have those two details articulated, it is time to prepare. Here are six steps to craft a captivating presentation:

  • Begin your preparation time in prayer. Jesus, would You open my eyes to the needs of my audience? Give me a vision of their hearts and lives. Guide my words to bring gentle truth and incredible encouragement into their hearts. Cause my spirit of creativity to flourish while I prepare. Tenderize my heart with a passion for this audience. Instill in me a desire to draw others to You. Orchestrate my notes to make You famous, Jesus, not myself. Fill me with confidence when I step on that platform. Allow me to overflow with Your words and wisdom in a powerful and precious way. Amen.
  • Draft your main points, and conduct your research. Your speaking topic and scenario will determine how you choose your points. Develop three to five main points. If I can’t name your main points, on one hand, your audience will likely not remember them. Keep this in mind also when you back your main points with research, scripture, anecdotes, examples, evidence, etc. Make sure to give your main point, add the supporting information to your main point, and then summarize your main point again for your audience. Do this for each of your main points. While compiling your main points and supporting information, vary the supporting data to captivate your audience. 
  • Give your audience a call to action. At the conclusion of your presentation, leave your audience with a call to action. This is a great time to weave in the gospel message. When you look at your three to five main points, what impact do you want it to have? This is how you will conclude your presentation.
  • Grab the audience’s attention. Yes, this step may seem out of place, but I always come back and write the opening last … after I know exactly where I’m headed! Make your first words memorable. How are you going to seek the attention of your audience? A personal story? A funny story? An insightful question? Five interesting facts about your topic? There are books that have short stories to help you create an awe-inspiring opener. However, the more personal and relatable you can be with your opener, the more your audience will identify with you. I often recall a personal, humorous story from my own life that illustrates the point of my speech. Spend time crafting your opening; it will be a considerable step in captivating your audience. 
  • Practice your presentation. Record yourself. Practice in front of a mirror. Talk it out in your car. The more comfortable you are, the more captivated your audience will be. 
  • Prepare your media. In today’s technology age, a presentation containing graphics, main points, scripture, charts or graphs, video clips, etc. will help captivate your audience. Not everyone is an auditory learner. Adding a presentation alongside your speech will provide an extra visual to help keep your audience engaged.

Karen Smith

Would you be willing to follow this process as you prepare for your next speaking engagement? Would you ask others to pray for you while you are speaking? Share in the comments.

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Karen Smith lives in Madison, AL, and graduated in 1996 from Ouachita Baptist University in Arkadelphia, AR. She has served as preschool and children’s pastor and has been involved in women’s ministry for many years, leading small groups, making hospital visits, organizing retreats, and encouraging the hearts of women. Karen now blogs at www.karenkaysmith.com. What started out as communicating medical facts has become a place where Karen takes you from struggles to faith and uses life experiences to empower you to live life transformed. She is the author of Nearsighted: Choosing to See Eating Disorders Differently, which helps others come alongside loved ones who struggle with an eating disorder.

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