The energy of the room is such an important element of my own talk and my own energy. One thing that is necessary from time to time is do everything differently than I'd planned.
I find the quiet rooms to be some of the most challenging for me. Funny thing, many of the talks that have felt the most off often come back with some of the strongest feedback. Who knew?
At a recent conference speaker Jean MacDonald of AppCampForGIrls, decided on a whim to add an activity to the start of her talk to pump the energy levels up a bit. It went really well and it was super fun.
In my own talks, I've tried things like starting with Q&A instead of diving right into the talk, or playing some music before the start and having some quick conversations with folks in the room. These have always felt pretty good. I tend to decide what approach to take depending on the size of the audience and the setup of the room. Several years ago I did a track session where only 5 people showed up, I ended up ditching my slide deck altogether and engaging more like an abbreviated workshop. It was a spur of the moment decision that ended up being so much FUN!
Whatever it is you may need to do to shift the energy levels of the room to the needs of your talk and presentation style, you tend to know it right away. Trust your guts on that and make it happen.
What sorts of situations have YOU encountered? I'd love to hear your stories!