Five years ago, I was the person nervously reading off slides, overwhelmed by data, and failing to connect with my audience. Fast forward to today, I've delivered hundreds of webinars, trainings, coaching courses - online or in-person - constantly refining my approach.
I discovered that neuroscience 🧠 is the key.
Here's a deep dive into the 10 techniques that revolutionised my public presentations:
1. The Power of Small Talks
Before diving into your session, engage in casual conversations. Mingle, share stories and listen.
🧠 It's more than just chit-chat. This warm-up releases dopamine, easing stress and building rapport.
2. Time to Start the Webinar
Kick off the session with a relevant question instead of a traditional introduction. This strategy engages the audience and shifts the focus from YOU to THEM.
🧠 It stimulates the prefrontal cortex, sparking curiosity from the outset.
3. Share Your 'Why'
Introduce yourself by sharing your passion and story, not just your qualifications. Remember what Simon Sinek would say "People don't buy WHAT you do, they buy WHY you do it.
🧠 Personal narratives engage the brain's empathy and memory centers.
4. Embrace Ice Breakers
I used to dislike them, but now I see their value in establishing psychological safety.
You can use icebreakers such as : Two Truths and a Lie (three statements about themselves: two truths and one lie); "If You Could" Questions (Ask, “If you could have any superpower, what would it be?” or “If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?. or "Personal Best" moment from work or their personal life over the past year.
🧠 By facilitating the release of oxytocin, known as the bonding hormone, Ice Breakers create a welcoming environment that encourages openness and interaction.
5. Break the audience into smaller groups
Encourage social learning. Tap into the collective intelligence. Facilitate conversations among participants.
🧠 Tap into the brain’s social nature, to enhance retention through cognitive and emotional processing.
6. Asks Questions when Energy Dips
It's a neuroscience hack – the brain shifts to 'answer mode' boosting focus. It counters the natural tendency for attention to wane over time.
🧠 It activates the reticular activating system, the brain's attention center.
7 Comfort Zone? Challenge It!
Introduce tasks that stretch your attendees. Ask them to organise a presentation, to write an elevator pitch, to present their key learnings in less than 2 minutes.
🧠 Overcoming these challenges triggers dopamine release, fostering a sense of achievement and growth.
8. Physical Activity
Reenergise your audience with squats or push-ups. If you can, tie it to your content with a sporty analogy. As a personal trainer, I will systematically tap into the power of the physical intelligence and leverage our physiology to change our psychology. Ready for some planks?
🧠 Physical activity stimulates neurotransmitters like endorphins enhancing mood. It's also a reset button for attention.
9. End with a Competitive Quiz ... instead of a boring summary
People are SO competitive! I am always amazed by that. Tap into the audience’s competitive spirit for a memorable ending, leveraging the "peak-end effect".
What is this? The Peak-End Rule is a psychological principle that suggests people judge an experience largely based on how they felt at its most intense point (the peak) and at its end, rather than based on the total sum or average of every moment of the experience.
🧠 End with a quiz! This strategy taps into the brain's reward pathway.
10. Instant Feedback via Post-Its
Provide two (virtual) post-its for feedback - 'I like...' and 'I wish...'. It provides real-time, actionable insights. Feedback IS a GIFT! It highlights areas of improvement and strengths. It fosters self-awareness and motivation by offering a different perspective on your behavior and performance. It encourages a culture of continuous learning and development.
🧠 It also activates the brain's critical thinking processes.
These techniques, grounded in neuroscience, have not only enhanced my ability to deliver engaging presentations but also significantly improved my connection with my audience. By understanding and applying these principles, you too can transform your public speaking and presentation skills.
Ready to launch your webinar?