Have you ever been sitting in a presentation and then realized you have zoned out not even realizing how much of this presentation you missed? Or have you been on the other side, and looked around the room while you are presenting to see no one even paying attention to you? Captivating the audience is hard to do but once you grab their attention you have to work not to lose it.
First, make sure what you are talking about is important. If it is dull or full of a lot of information, tell it like a story. You want your audience to be captivated by your presentation. Do not try to cover too much information at once, you want to frame the most important information and save the rest. If you overload your audience with facts they will ultimately zone out. Focus on the main points and dive into detail with these broad topics. When giving a presentation, rehearsal is necessary. If you are reading directly from a script, odds are your voice will sound monotone and uninteresting.
You need to be comfortable and confident in front of a crowd. If you believe in your own presenting skills the rest will follow. If you are nervous, the audience will be also able to read your body language and know you are not comfortable. Use your nervous energy to project your voice and engage with the listeners.
If your presentation is valuable and something you are passionate about, it will be easier for the audience to engage and pay attention. Have a hook to draw your listeners into your presentation and take advantage of eye contact to connect with the audience. Most importantly, be entertaining. It doesn’t matter if you are presenting findings from a study or a story about your crazy hiking trip, engage with the audience and embrace your stage presence because it will force the audience to pay attention. Finally, just breathe. You can get through this.