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How to present in front of an empty room?

That’s it! After months of reflection and weeks of hard research, you finally have it, your idea in gold! You’re proud of it and you have only one wish: to present it so that it can materialize. To accomplish this, you intensify your work and prepare a “keynote” worthy of the greatest (Steve Jobs better watch out). You negotiate to reserve the largest room available in your company; you prepare your guest list and your invitation carefully and above all, you hire Zepresenters to help you with the preparation of your presentation, from clarifying your idea to embodying it!

But then, the long-awaited D-Day arrives and at H-hour, your audience can be counted on one hand. A feeling of disappointment overcomes you before giving way to doubt, then anxiety. Negative thoughts rush through your mind and you just don’t know how to react: Do I cancel? Do I act as if nothing is wrong? Do I call Zepresenters for help? Pretexting to wait for a few more late arrivals, you run off to call your favorite Story-manager to the rescue. He/she then gives you 3 key tips to manage this somewhat confusing situation:

 

  1. The situation you will accept

After so much time and effort spent on your project, it is normal to feel disappointed after all. But don’t forget that your room is not completely empty. People made the effort to trust you and come see you. And they are not responsible for the fact that the others did not come. Accept that today, only a few people will have the chance to participate in your presentation. But, if you manage to get them on board, these few people will become ambassadors of your idea, ready to relay your message. So, swallow your resentment because: “the show must go on.”

 

  1. To your audience you will adapt

When only 5 seats out of 50 are occupied, you cannot pretend that nothing is wrong, at the risk of fueling the feeling, for the few that are present, that perhaps they shouldn’t have come. You will therefore have to adapt:

– Get closer to your audience, literally! Ask your audience to occupy the front seats and do not hide behind a desk. If you can, get off your dais and adapt you staging for a more intimate and relaxed intervention.

– Get your audience involved! Do not run through your talk like a long monologue but speak to them, ask them questions, make them participate. Today more than ever, you cannot afford not to get everyone on board.

– Assume one thing: we can do great things with a handful of courageous people!

 

  1. A conversation you will choose

We usually say that a successful presentation is like a conversation. The good news for you is that it’s easier to start a conversation with 5 people than with 50! Speak simply, speak true, speak sincere, but above all, take care of your audience. Ask questions, go towards them when they seem distant, and just try to get to know them. By changing your mindset and considering your speech more like a conversation than a presentation, you will be able to build a relationship with your audience and get your message across. Your ultimate goal during your presentation should be to create a simple and real relationship with your audience.

Finally, once the feeling of disappointment is overcome, you can decide that the situation is a chance and that you have all the tools in hand to take full advantage of it. You have a handful of supporters in front of you, ready to listen to you; trust them, take care of them and they will return the favor. Though you have no power over those who are absent, you can, on the other hand, ensure that those who are present retain an unforgettable memory of your intervention… and will let people know!

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