Create a Dialogue
If I’m giving a presentation, why do I need to create a dialogue with my audience?
When you make a presentation — to one or 500 people — you want to capture their attention and engage them so they see your point of view. If you’re simply speaking “at them,” it’s likely you will not gain their full attention and communicate your ideas.
A dialogue is an interactive process where the speaker engages with an audience and creates a “give-and-take” exchange so the audience genuinely responds, a process where the speaker’s words and ideas spark interest, provoke questions and elicit an internal reaction from members of the audience.
Does dialogue naturally occur in an interview?
The obvious context for a dialogue is an interview or a one-to-one discussion. But in my work as a speech coach, I find that many people miss the opportunity to create a truly interactive exchange with another person. Understanding another person’s point of view, interests, and objectives is critical for creating a meaningful context to connect.
For example: Why should you be hired for a particular job? The answer is not simply because you would like the job. If you prepare in advance to understand the company’s structure, goals, and clients, you’ll have a chance to be specific about your credentials. But in every interview, listening is critical. Allow the interviewer to tell you about what the company needs, the specifics of the job so you can describe your skills and experience for this position: “why you’ll be an asset to this company.”
How can I create a dialogue with more than one person?
Ask yourself these key questions:
- Have you considered what will be of interest to this audience?
- What can the audience learn/gain by your presentation?
Planning a presentation tailored to your audience is the first step in creating a dialogue:
- Consider the time you have to present: include enough information to convey your ideas but don’t burden the listeners with more information than they can process.
- Make it clear what they can gain from your presentation, your take-away points.
- Plan your presentation for the allotted time and don’t include more than you’ll be able to say — so you won’t feel compelled to speak fast.
- Look at your audience, make eye contact, watch your body language and speak in a natural voice.
All of these critical features for making a great presentation can be found in articles on my website: see the Blog and Publications sections of my website and use the “Search” tool or choose from “Categories”.
Here are a few links on the subject, but you can find many more on my website:
Check back soon for more articles on communications, effective speaking, writing, speech pathology and executive function.