When you are presenting to a larger group, there are meeting dynamics that you can use to your advantage to ensure you have even greater success with your presentation. The audience is key to your performance, utilizing some simple yet powerful techniques will enhance your success.
Are you aware that there is a learning funnel in every meeting? The diagram below illustrates this. The percentages shown in each area indicate the amount of participation, interaction with the presenter, and recall of what was discussed and presented.
As the presenter, the people who sit in the center of the front few rows will participate more and have the highest retention level. They are also the most enthusiastic and motivated to learn. Build rapport with this section of the audience with eye contact and body language. You will find that during your presentation, you will achieve more support and encouragement from this group catalyzing with the entire audience.
When you are asking and answering questions of the audience, you will find that people in the center part of the funnel will ask more positive, curious questions that support your talk.
Those audience members who are seated outside the funnel, the ones toward the sides and back are less influential and supportive to you. Be cautious when reaching out to the audience for questions or volunteers when one is seated in one of these seats; you can be led down a path you didn’t intend to go.
Your Best Side, how to use the stage or front of the room:
Researchers at the University of Oregon determined that people can retain up to three times more information about things they see in their right visual field than they do on their left. The study suggests that as the presenter, you are likely to have a better side when presenting, which is your left side. The reason for this is because you are presenting to the audience’s right visual field.
When you are the speaker or presenter, you can utilize which side of the stage you speak from to reinforce your message with the audience by best using the way our brains function and take in information so that you can talk to the logical or emotional side of the brain.
When you stand to the audience’s left (the right side of the stage), your information will have a more substantial effect on the right brain hemisphere of your audience’s brain, which is the emotional side.
Standing to the audience’s right (the left side of the stage) impacts the audience’s left-brain hemisphere, the logical side. This is one reason why an audience will laugh longer when you use humor and stand to the left side of the stage. They respond better to emotional pleas and stories when you deliver them from the right side of the stage. Most performers know that if you want to make the audience laugh, you stand to the left, and to make them cry, stand to the right.
You invest a lot of time and energy into your presentation or meeting to make sure your audience leaves feeling the time they spent with you was worth it. Utilizing these simple techniques will help empower you to achieve your goal.
For a deeper dive into the information, grab a copy of our book “Sit Your Way to Success,” where you will learn more details.