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Become an Engaging Presenter

Lesson 2 of 15

Engage Your Audience Right Away


Become an Engaging Presenter

Lesson 2 of 15

Engage Your Audience Right Away


Lesson Info

Engage Your Audience Right Away

Welcome, thanks everybody. I'm really happy you're here. Welcome to the Internet audience as well. So everybody, take a look at this image. Potentially, your greatest fantasy, or possibly, your biggest nightmare. So I want you to think about that image for a second and go ahead, and close your eyes. You've just been asked to do a presentation in a week, and it's a presentation on something you understand, and it's a field of study that you really feel comfortable in. Think about how you start to build the material. What do you do to rehearse? How do you warm up? Now think about the presentation itself. You're standing at that podium, the audience is incredibly engaged. Their paying attention, their laughing at your jokes, their absorbing the material, and their actually applauding. Go ahead and open your eyes. How many people when I first asked to close your eyes and think about doing a presentation, got really nervous, got a little anxious about the presentation? That's more than thre...

e quarters of this class. That's great. It's really, really important to understand. It's really, really helpful for you to start to think about that, right? So tell me, there's a microphone here, you can also go in online, what is it that you think makes an engaging presentation? And I'm talking about engaging, what does that mean? It means a couple of things. It means I'm interesting I'm motivating you, I'm relaxed, I'm inspiring you, I'm a bit charming maybe, but something about it that you like. So tell me, for all of you who've been, you've all seen presentations, right? Tell me from your point of view, what makes it interesting to you, John. For me, it's when the presenters having fun, whether he's a goof ball or more serious, I think that's a big, that kind of feeds into the audience I think. It's a great point. I'm done, like my work is done, I'm up here, I might as well enjoy myself, 'cause what you get is what you're gonna get today, so it's a really, really good point. I need to be engaged and be passionate about it. What else, anybody else have something that you think about? Eye contact. Eye contact is important. It would be weird if you asked a question or gave me an answer right now, and I was looking over here. That's a great point, excellent, I love that, what else? Anything else that comes up that you guys think about? Especially when the preparation matches the relaxation and personality. You really want to have both ends of that. That's great. If I'm not prepared, I might be a little bit more heightened, not being able to really be emotional about what I'm talking about and feel confident in what I'm talking about. So these are all great points. Nilly, did you have something? Perfect, hi. Hi, my comment was that when people are being authentic and you can see that it's not like I'm just presenting this information and I don't care about it. Yeah, yeah, I've done this presentation 42 times, you're just the new group versus, and this is a brand new presentation for me. I built this for CreativeLive, so it's really nice to know that it's something that I get to do for the first time in front of you. I've rehearsed it, but I get to do it for the first time in front of you. Chris, anybody online? Yeah, online audience is chiming in, so Red Scorpio says a good engaging presentation is when I actually learn something. A couple of people say passion. They want to see a passionate person. Jason Holland says authenticity and sincerity. Yeah, I need to be authentic right? I need to be sincere, and I have to have passion about it. These are all points that we're talking about, and what are we actually talking about? We're talking about connecting. So being an engaging presenter to me is not the fact completely, that I know how to build a presentation and execute it, and we're gonna talk about that a little bit today, but we're talking about connecting with the audience and being an effective communicator. Very, very important. It's about understanding communication and knowing who we are, to understand what tools I have to communicate. Tools I don't have, I get to work on. Tools I do have, I can use, but I'm not gonna only rely on my strengths. I have a background in acting and improvisation, so I feel really comfortable winging it, so to speak, 'cause I'm comfortable not having it be perfect, but I don't want my entire presentation to just be me winging it. I have to go back and organize information appropriately, be logical, and taught to all of you. So in order to connect, I need to use some tools that I've learned to make sure the audience is with me, and we're gonna talk about that. I used five examples today to start this presentation. I gave you that warm up exercise, which was the thumb exercise, and that's literally warming you up and connecting with you, but it's also giving you a problem to solve. Human beings love problems, so if I give you a problem to solve, you're already engaged with me because you're thinking about something else. The second thing I did was I told you a story about the thumb exercise. So I gave you a story. Did you all visualize somebody doing that in my presentation? Your brain is built for that. So I gave you a story to connect. I am a huge fan of allowing yourself to talk about your life, who you are, in anything you're presenting. It creates a level playing field with the audience, and they get to know you a little bit more, so we're gonna talk about that today as well. The next thing I did was I did a couple of visualizations, but before that, I showed you that image of the podium with the gigantic audience. So I used my deck as a way to give you a compelling image to connect, and some of you immediately, when I showed that image, I saw in the audience, we're like ugh. (audience laughing) So I gave you that image. We're not gonna talk about building this deck 'cause this is about you the presenter. This about me talking about what's happening right here, right now, on Creative ive, but for you, you have to know how to connect with the audience without relying just on your deck, 'cause then what happens is I do a presentation today and it's 97 slides, all the information is just bullet pointed, and that's all you get, but what we're talking about here is us. Presentations were really, really exceptional prior to technology, so how do we make that happen but use this as a point of reference, so that you feel more comfortable? And then I did a couple of visualization exercises. It's a great way to relax the audience. I did a really nice visualization in the front, which was process. Think about how you do this, 'cause we often don't. We just go right into it. Oh no, I got to do a presentation, start, but I did a visualization, and then I did an outcome visualization. Human beings are designed to think in a way where we think about what's gonna go wrong, and I actually had you visualize what would go right. The audience loved your jokes, they were with you, they were listening to you, 'cause that's actually possible, I heard, we'll find out today if that's true, but these are some of the things that we do, right? So I gave you those, it's five ways to engage with an audience up front, and there's actually a sixth way, which I did, which was incredibly subtle. When I changed topic, I moved, and I made a very confident move, and I sat, because physically, if I make a move, I can change a topic, I can change a thought. I didn't wander, 'cause you get a wander too, and that's sometimes possible if I'm having a conversation, but then it's hard for the audience to stay with you, and if I wander a lot, you get used to that, so you immediately back off and stop paying attention to me. So I use that physical movement, and it might even be this. It could even be this, but I change topic, so it's really valuable. So those are ways I connected with you immediately to get you to pay attention. Yes, you want to learn something, you're here, but I can immediately disengage you if I'm not paying attention to how I start this process. It's very, very important. This is the image that you all thought about right, and why do I do that? 'Cause I definitely want to avoid that. By the way for those of you online, this is actually happening in our audience right now. (audience laughing) Could you please wake that person up? But this is what I'm trying to avoid, 'cause it happens, we all know. Why is that? How do we miss the mark?

Class Description

Does your work require you to give presentations? Are you just getting through them and hoping for the best but not quite hitting the mark? 

Are you building decks to pitch your ideas and to present to clients, but feel as though your presentation skills are mediocre at best? 

Have you lost out on opportunities because you failed to connect with your audience? It’s time to learn how to improve your presentation skills and to start actually enjoying the entire process. 

Join former Late Night with Conan O’Brien performer, accomplished career coach, and small business owner Andrew Whelan to learn how to be an engaging, dynamic presenter. 

This class is short, actionable, and something you can always reference before you go into a pitch. 

In this class you will learn how to: 

  • Prepare your story and rehearse 
  • Prioritize your message 
  • Improve your vocal strength and physical presence 
  • Get emotionally connected with your audience 
  • Keep the momentum going to develop a rhythm 
  • Read cues, connect with your audience and present yourself as an authority 
  • Manage anxiety and handle the unexpected 



This is my second time as an audience member for Creative Live, and I have to tell you all - I'm hooked! I decided to give it a shot because I'm genuinely interested in the subject being covered, it is a wonderful networking opportunity, and its free for audience members - so I receive the course and the bonus materials. For those of you that are nervous about the cameras like I was, let me assure you that you hardly even notice them. If you ever watched a few courses before becoming an audience member, you can tell how little the audience is even shown. Now as for Mr. Whelan - CL couldn't have picked a better presenter to present about presentations. His knowledge and experience reflects in his presentation - he's warm, personable, and if he did rehearse and prepare the way he recommends, it's not noticeable. He's natural and you can relate to every point made. I hope there are other Andrew Whelan courses in the future. I highly recommend CL - as a participant and an audience member - for their variety of course content and bonus materials that I continue to use in my day-to-day. I strongly recommend any class or workshop that includes Andrew Whelan. His advice, experience, and genuine empathetic approach to helping others become better, is invaluable. Thank you Andrew and Thank you Creative Live!

Carolyn Winslow

Thank you! You gave me some fresh ideas to share when I am presenting, and when I'm helping folks be more comfortable when they need to speak in front of others. Good examples, to the point without fluff, and even a bit entertaining. Thanks!

Jack Foxe

This was my first live audience experience, and wow was i shocked how engaged i was! Im someone who has an awful attention span so the fact that i was listening and taking everything in was fantastic. Thanks Andrew for some great tips and making me laugh and thanks to Creative Live for having me in the audience. If anyone who interacts with other people on a regular basis this class is essential!