Key Takeaways

Deploy a range of audience connection techniques for maximum impact, such as:

    • Inclusive language (“we,” “you”)
    • Cognitive engagement (“Imagine if …”)
    • Polling and rhetorical questions
    • Humor (carefully!)
    • Emotional appeal 

Explore Further

optional exercises for further reflection and practice




Choose a TED Talk or a Stanford LOWkeynote talk on a topic that interests you. As you watch, jot down as many audience engagement techniques as you can spot. These might be verbal, cognitive techniques or non-verbal, physical techniques. What engages you as an audience member, and why? 

Build Your Checklist

this list grows throughout the academic quarter
  1. Create Anxiety Management Plan (AMP) and use when speaking publicly
  2. Define audience and speaking goals:
    1. Who am I speaking to?
    2. What are their needs?
    3. What do I want them to know, feel, or do differently after hearing me?
  3. Choose and apply an identifiable structure, such as:
    1. What, so what, now what?
    2. Problem, solution, benefit
    3. What is, what could be, new bliss
  4. Create a powerful opening and closing
  5. Create transitions that:
    1. Resummarize prior section
    2. Introduce next section
    3. Signpost overall structure
  6. Prepare visual aids that reinforce structure and story:
    1. One big idea per slide
    2. Quick impact
    3. Clean and crisp
  7. Plan and prepare specific audience engagement techniques such as:
    1. Inclusive language
    2. Cognitive / rhetorical exercises
    3. Questions and polls
    4. Engaging data or anecdotes 
  8. Practice and digitally record talk repeatedly, refining:
    1. Visual delivery: Stance, movement, gestures, eye contact
    2. Vocal delivery: Volume, dynamics, pace, tone
    3. Verbal delivery: Clear and vivid word choices, minimize fillers