Audience Warm-Up: Engage Your Audience Before You Present
Whether a public, private, or academic librarian, some form of presenting has increasingly become part of the job. Your presentations are often around an hour long, and when planning it seems like an hour is just not enough for all the activities you want to include. You settle on your program and then your audience begins to arrive. It’s time to begin so you do an awkward introduction of yourself and then dive right into your material. You and your audience are cold, and the attendees may not know much about you just as you may have no idea who they are. Your hope is that things will go well and that your strategy will engage your audience. Well, why not warm up the room before you actually start? You can warm up the audience with casual conversation prior to your program, or have pre-presentation activities planned. You can learn who is attending, why they came to your session, and what they are hoping to learn. That way they are thinking about the topic before you start, and you can have an idea of who is in your audience, what they expect, and what they are bringing to the presentation. Warming up the crowd can help improve the presentation, create a personal relationship between speaker and audience, and make the session more fulfilling and engaging.