Webwork - 12:43 pm on Mar 20, 2010 (gmt 0)
Pay attention to the audience, not your notes. Look at the faces in the audience. Are they "leaning forward" or falling asleep, checking their email, etc? Look to the audience for clues/signs that indicate what most is most interesting to them, what they feel is the best use of their time and attention.
Sometimes it's best to shorten the presentation and allow more time for questions. The more complex the issue the more likely there are questions.
Sometimes, if you are paying attention to the audience, you can sense either greater interest - or confusion - about a topic you just touched upon. Adjust your presentation accordingly. Be ready to branch out, pause, do into greater detail. Offer assurances that you will be available to answer questions after the presentation.
Sometimes, if you put up an outline of topics at the start of a presentation, you can ask the audience for an indication (show of hands?) of the topics that they are most interested in, curious about, etc.
An "engaged audience" is the best audience. Don't fear the audience. Invite them in. After all, it's really "about them", isn't it?