Breakout 3: tips for engaging your audience

Breakout tips for engaging your audience

Tips for engaging your audience: how to improve presentation, public speaking confidence and presence on stage, no matter how small the stage is. Presented by Tracy Travis – Public speaking and Toastmasters.

This was from Breakout Session 3 at Romance Writers of Australia Conference 2019. This workshop shows how to step onto the stage with confidence and grab the audience’s attention and keep it. Get the audience to focus on you and understand your message in a presentation. Practical tips on how you can improve your stage presence. This will boost your confidence and increase the quality of your overall presentation.

Tracy gave a presentation on how to engage an audience. She has learned these techniques through participating in Toastmasters.

General tips

  • Confidence comes from within 
  • You have a set amount of time to grab your audience before their attention wanders 


  • Great assumptions are made based on your appearance
  • Consider what outfit you are wearing before the day 
  • Make sure it’s clean, tidy, suitable for the occasion 
  • Consider your surroundings – don’t blend in, disappear into the background (eg curtains and staging)
  • Consider appropriate footware – including how long you will be standing, and stairs on to stage 
  • Hair style – if it is in your face, you don’t have eye contact. If audience can’t see your eyes, you lose authority. 
  • Information was provided on how to use different microphones, lecterns, visual presentations, and other interactive displays.

My comments: It was a small group, and we sat in a circle facing each other. I’ve covered a lot of this information before in performing and roleplaying techniques, but the information was new to many of the group. Overall it was a good refresher course. However it was not exactly what I was expecting from the topic name. I think a lot more people would have benefitted from this breakout session.

Tracy Travis is a Distinguished Toastmaster having completing over 50 speeches including keynote addresses, impromptu and planned speeches with several Toastmasters International clubs. She has extensive experience in mentoring and providing positive, empowering evaluations to allow presenters the chance to develop their skills in a supported and nurturing environment. These skills have been extended with her involvement in Toastmaster conferences in many varied roles including Precentor, Test Speaker and Sound System and Audio Visual coordinator.

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