Ten Tips For Teens

Getting Your Message Across to Teens

There is no denying it, giving a presentation to anyone can be difficult, but giving a presentation to a group of teenagers is even more challenging. Why is presenting to a group of teens so stressful? Talking to teens is hard, talking to a group of teens trying to play it “cool” seems impossible. Usually, your audience is forced to be there, aren’t interested in your topic — or worse, think they already know everything about it, they are distracted by their friends, devices or just look bored. So what can you do to get your message across? Here are a few tips to help you present to teenagers: 

 
1. Challenge Their Assumptions - Unlike most presentations, your audience didn’t choose to be there. So instead of standing in front of a captive audience, you’re standing in front of a group who is expecting a lecture and are planning to be disinterested. Turn this assumption around, let them know immediately this is not another boring lecture that they are forced to listen to. Ask them questions, get them involved — make them raise their hands, stand up, and join in. Be straight forward and honest — “I know you may not want to listen to this, or you think you know all there is to know about this topic” - BUT - walking in turning their assumptions about what they are about to experience upside down will grab their attention and give you an opening to get your message across. 
 
2. This Isn’t About You - After a brief introduction, don’t talk anymore about yourself. Unless you are a super famous rockstar or movie star — they don’t care. Just your name and why you are there is fine. 
 
3. Show Them Respect - Thank them for being there, for paying attention and for giving you a chance to get your message across. Showing your teenage audience respect and gratitude will help you get the same treatment in return. Plus, teenagers are used to being told what to do, not being thanked for what they did do. It will go a long way in achieving your end goal — getting your message and information to resonate with them. It is helpful to do this in the middle of your presentation — it warms them up to get through to the end. 
 
4. Call Them Out - It is going to happen — they are going to get distracted, talk to among themselves, or just zone out. So call them out on it, bringing attention to the behavior will help correct it quickly. Don’t chastise them, make it fun, or ask them a question. “Ok, I’m losing some of you — let’s back up and ask a few questions,” or “See, this one here is already on his phone googling the facts, and seeing if you can trip me up, or prove me wrong — what do you got?” This will catch everyone’s attention and solve future problems. 
 
5. Look at Them - Make eye contact. Looking at and engaging with your audience is key to keeping them involved with what you are saying. If you direct comments to audience members or ask specific teens their names and opinions it will help the group realize you aren’t just another adult there to lecture, but that you want to talk to them — not at them. Give them time to react to what you are saying, make sure to engage in short dialogue, and use humor to help you. 
 
6. Know Your Materials - You should know your presentation materials backwards and forwards, add stories and examples to the facts and statistics you are presenting is a great way to keep a young audience listening. Make sure any materials you use are bold, colorful and aimed towards a teenaged audience. Be prepared for objections and how to answer hard questions. 
 
7. Show the Ups and Downs - Teens tend to be stuck in the “It won’t happen to me” mindset. Especially on topics involving drugs, alcohol, smoking, STD’s, distracted driving — all the heavy hitters that greatly impact teens’ lives. Giving a hard statistic, followed by a more optimistic one is a good way to show the negative and the positive outcomes of these hard hitting topics. Showing what these negative behaviors can do, and what stopping them can achieve is also a way to help teens listen, without shutting down. 
 
8. It’s Ok to Mess Up - You may know you messed up, but they won’t, so don’t let it bother you. If they do catch it, own it, apologize and move forward. Let them laugh right along with you, showing them it’s ok to make a mistake is not a bad thing! 
 
9. Be There For Them - If a teen was interested in what you had to say, or had concerns they wanted to talk to you about they may feel embarrassed to come up immediately. Hang around afterwards in case anyone wants to personally ask you something, or leave an email address specifically created for presentations so if they want to contact you, they feel they can. They more than likely won’t — but giving them the more personal connection will be meaningful. 
 
10. Give them Something - There is nothing a teen likes more than something free. It can be something small, like a pen, keychain, sticker, or stress ball — make sure to include your logo, phone number or a message that relates to your presentation. Anything to help them remember what you said in the future is a great way to leave a lasting impression. 
 
Prevention and Treatment Resource Press is here to help you reach teenagers in your community. 

We offer age appropriate presentation displays with bold images and graphics, pamphlets, presentation cards, and promotional items in a wide variety of topics that effect teenagers. Each presentation display comes with a presenter’s guide with valuable information and tips on how to expand your presentation, and we have a line of pamphlets designed and written with a teenage/young adult in mind.
 
Contact us today or shop online to build your perfect presentation! 
www.PTRPress.com -or- 1-877-329-0570
 
Want more tips? Look forward to our next post “Ten Tips on Presenting to Parents”