One of Tom Peters’ presentation tips is “By hook or by crook..connect, connect and connect” with your audience. There are many ways you can achieve that. The most obvious one is to maintain eye contact with the audience by NOT reading your notes. Talk to them the same way you talk to your friend.
Another way is to relate to your audience’s experience by telling stories. Remember: every presentation is a story. You connect with them by sharing part of your experience that is similar to theirs.
For example, when I give my 2-day presentation on environmental regulation (a potentially deadly dull subject) to an audience made up of environmental managers, I relate to them by telling them the failures and successes that I had when I was a corporate environmental manager. I connect with them through a shared road map of our past. I was experiencing the same challenges that they are having now. That’s where the connection occurs. As a result, I am able to make a deadly dull subject sound interesting to the audience.
Contrast this approach to that taken by many attorneys before the same audience. The attorneys cite regulations ad nausea because many of them have never visited a factory or have to be responsible for compliance in a corporate setting. They have no stories to tell that the audience can relate to. On top of that, these attorneys show up in full business suits when there is not a single tie in the meeting room.
You just can’t connect this way.