Tips on How to Engage People in Your Public Speeches


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Tips on How to Engage People in Your Public Speeches

If you want people to enjoy your speeches or better remember what you talk about, you’re going to need to go out of your way to make your talks as engaging as possible.

The good news is that there are plenty of little tips and tricks that you can use to ensure that your audience is engaging with what you’re talking about, so you just need to ensure that you work them into your presentations.

And as always, we’ve got you covered, which is where this article comes in. Let’s dive in and take a look at just a few methods you can use to engage people in your public speeches.

Engage People in Your Public Speeches

1. Explain what’s in it for them

The first step towards engaging an audience is to explain what they’re going to get out of your presentation. If those benefits are attractive enough, then people are going to go out of their way to listen to you and will engage with your presentation so that they can reap those rewards. It’s a good idea to start out with this explanation so that people pay attention right from the get-go. You can also recap those benefits at the end of your session so that they’re in the forefront of people’s minds when they leave the venue.

2. Ask questions

Asking questions is a great way to encourage people to engage with what you’re talking about because it actively makes them a part of your presentation. When people think about using questions, they typically think about hosting a short Q&A session after the presentation is over. It’s generally a good idea to do this so that people can ask you any questions they might have, but you can also engage with your audience by switching things up and posing questions for them. You can also poll a whole room by asking people to simply raise their hands to cast a vote.

3. Be controversial

The important thing to note here is that we’re not talking about being controversial just for the sake of being controversial. Instead, take a more measured and deliberate approach. Perhaps the best way to be controversial is to challenge the established wisdom in your industry. For example, if you’re giving a talk on content marketing at an SEO conference, you could begin by announcing that search engine optimization doesn’t work, before explaining pitfalls and how it can be improved.

4. Tell stories

Stories are one of the most important weapons in a public speaker’s toolkit because they allow us to communicate complex ideas in a way that makes them interesting and easier for people to absorb. As human beings, we’re hard-wired by our social history to enjoy storytelling. This is why we can see shapes in clouds and faces in inanimate objects. By incorporating stories into your public speaking, you can put the engagement into “public speaking engagement”.

5. Vary your tone

By varying your vocal tone, you can make your messages much more memorable by providing  extra interest. When a person speaks in a monotone, it becomes easy to zone them out and to stop listening to what they’re saying. Varying the tone of your voice allows you to emphasize certain words and to accentuate the parts of your message that you want people to remember.

6. Show, don’t tell

This is an old writing trick that’s taught all over the world in English literature and creative writing classes. The idea is that by using more evocative language, you do a better job of bringing things to life. For example, compare “it was raining” to “raindrops cascaded down her cheeks and landed in the puddles below”. By showing instead of telling, you tap into a lot of the same benefits that you get from using stories.

7. Make eye contact

Making eye contact with your whole audience isn’t feasible if you’re talking to a large audience made up of hundreds of people, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from it. You can still make eye contact with individual people, and it’s especially important to do so when responding to direct questions. When you make eye contact with people, you automatically encourage them to become more involved in your presentation because they’ll feel as though they’ve made a connection with you.

8. Check in with your audience

Another great way to keep people engaged is to regularly check in with them, even if it’s just to ask them to give you a show of hands about whether they want you to go over something again. It’s all about building up interaction between you the speaker and your audience so that they feel more involved with what’s going on. If they feel involved in your presentation, they’re more likely to pay attention to what you’re saying.

9. Make people laugh

Unless you’re a stand-up comedian then you’re not going to want to put too many jokes into your presentation because it can take people’s attention away from the message that you’re trying to deliver. Still, as long as you don’t overdo it, it doesn’t hurt to try to get a couple of chuckles out of people. One study has even found that laughter can help people to remember things, which is another great way of boosting retention and making sure that people take your message onboard.


Now that you know a few of our top tips that you can use to engage people in your public speeches, it’s over to you so that you can put what we’ve talked about today into practice. Be sure to give these tips a try in your next speaking engagement, and see if you find them helpful.

As always, we’d love to hear your thoughts, so be sure to keep the discussion going by sharing a comment. You can also follow us on your favorite social networking sites for more. We’ll see you soon!


Average: 5 (1 vote)


See also:

  • How Public Speakers Can Boost Their Creative Writing Skills
    Crafting a great talk

    How Public Speakers Can Boost Their Creative Writing Skills