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How to Give a Good Lecture

Posted on 4.19.2014

:: By Ilan Nass, Fueled ::

Public speaking is an opportunity to exchange ideas, and lectures do just that. They can engage audiences while helping expand new ideas. No two lectures are alike, though.

In order to make your lectures memorable and engaging, make sure you take the following steps before your next presentation. Your audience will be more interested and your message will stay with them long after you’re done.

Preparing the Lecture

One fundamental step that most people overlook when it comes to lectures is preparation. You should be knowledgeable about the subject you’ll be discussing.

Start by considering the information you'll be providing. Whatever your topic is, some things should be emphasized, like highly technical information, over less relevant information that might disengage your audience. Use visuals to explain various ideas in a clearer manner.

Take the opportunity during the preparation phase to explore resources that you may want to include in your lecture. The right content makes all of the difference to your audience, especially when you pass on an idea that they may not have considered before. TEDx speakers are highly skilled at this; watching videos of lecture styles will benefit you as well. Pay attention to how they emphasize important points so you can emulate those techniques.

Essentials of the Presentation

When you give your lecture, there are a few key elements that will enhance the information you share with your audience. Your voice and body language work together and shape how your audience receives your message.

Using storytelling helps your listeners remember all of the vital points that you want to get across. By framing the information into the context of a story, your listeners are more likely to retain it over time. Humor is another powerful way to keep your audience engaged in your lecture. The better the joke, the better the chance that they will connect it to a piece of information you relayed to them.

Monotone will not keep the attention of your audience and more likely cause them to lose interest. By varying the pitch and tone of your voice, you'll be making your lecture more dynamic and interesting.

How your voice sounds is important but a large part of communication is nonverbal. Your audience isn't just engaging with your words, but also with the way you present them. Using gestures and eye contact helps to emphasize what you're saying in your lecture. If you’re at a podium, feel free to move away from it and move closer to your audience. If there’s no podium, props may be appropriate depending on the topic.

The Power of Questions

One of the best ways for you to increase the impact of your lecture is through questions. Asking and answering questions helps to break up the lecture and gain feedback in real time, allowing your audience to interact on a deeper level with the information.

Questions help your listeners become part of the lecture. Encourage brief discussions within the audience as you make your way through important points. This maintains audience attention during more complex discussions and helps conclude the lecture by allowing you to revisit the topics covered.

Good lectures are a result of thorough preparation and a conscious engagement with the audience. By deciding in advance the resources, presentation methods and content you'll use, you improve the quality of your presentation. Challenging your audience with questions will make your lecture more memorable and deepen the exchange you have with your listeners.

Ilan Nass is the head of marketing at Fueled, the leading iPhone app builder in New York City, renowned for its award winning mobile design and strategy.

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