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Monthly Archives: January 2011

Don’t Underestimate Your Audience

audience clappingOn Thursday, I had the opportunity to see Dan Vega speak at a one-day business bootcamp. There were several things he said that really stood out to me, but today I’m going to talk about this one:

“So many speakers underestimate the audience.”

In the context of what he was saying, he was suggesting that audiences are often more intelligent or well educated than speakers give them credit for. But there are so many other ways that, I believe, speakers often underestimate their audience.

For one, many believe that the audience is there to find fault in your presentation and pick you apart. This leads many to suffer from a fear of speaking. Of course, hostile audiences do exist, but I think on average … and from the experiences shared by many of the featured speakers I’ve interviewed for this project … most audiences want you to succeed.

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Feedback to Make Them Love You

Lily IatridisBy Featured Speaker Lily Iatridis

Recently I wrote about using strategic questioning to get your audience creatively engaged during your speaking event. But what comes after they answer your questions? That’s also an integral part to relationship building with your audience, especially with public speaking. The answer is qualitative feedback.

Most of the time, when the audience responds to a seminar leader’s question, the feedback they get is something generic, like “That’s good,” “Good!” “Great!” and so on. With that type of feedback, opportunities for relationship building are lost. What does “good” really mean? It’s like attaching a moral value to the response: Good v. Bad. It doesn’t really mean anything. If that’s the only type of feedback that you ever give, it’ll slowly kill audience participation during your live event. You, the seminar leader, will soon come across as if you don’t really care or value the contributions.

You’ve got to vary your feedback and make it genuine. This will inspire trust and more participation from your audience.

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Public Speaking Tip #5: Choose Content You’re Interested In

Back in 1994, I took a Television Production Workshop at Santa Rosa Junior College. To pass the class, I only needed to create one 7-minute video. I ended up producing a 27-minute introduction to Toastmasters, a quick skit video and a music video. What can I say, I think big!

Anyway, this week’s video tip … and the next two … is excerpted from For the Love of Public Speaking, the longest project I did in that class.

The information in this video is targeted to people who are just starting in Toastmasters, which is why I mention a short presentation time and a wide selection of topics. But the basis of what I’m saying applies to anyone who wants to make public speaking a part of their business, as well.

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Perfectionism Breeds Fear of Public Speaking

perfectionismIn the first video in my series of public speaking tips videos, I talked about how perfectionism can stop you from getting started in public speaking. But perfectionistic tendencies can do more than that.

The desire to be perfect, to not make an mistake, can increase the fear of public speaking. There is an often-quoted statistic that basically says people are, in general, more afraid of public speaking than dying. I believe, this is, in part, due to the belief that when you speak in front of a group of people, you can be horribly humiliated by making a mistake.

This is a really bad way to think about public speaking.

1. Your audience is, for the most part, rooting for you. If you make a mistake, they feel bad for you. They are not looking to cut you down. Just accept you made a mistake and move on with grace. Your audience will go with you.

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