One of the most common pieces of advice the featured speakers have been sharing with me is this: to really get to know your audience, so you can tailor your presentation to what they need, mingle with them before you go on stage. This works very well if you’re […]
Category Archives: The Power of Audience Engagement
By Featured Speaker Arvee Robinson
Speakers can open their presentation using one of a host of methods. So why do most non-professional speakers begin their speech with those attention-grabbing words, “Ah, I am so-in-so, ah . . . um”? Beginning your speech with filler words such as “ah” or “um” immediately tells your audience that you are an untrained speaker. In a flash, you’ve lost credibility as a speaker, or even worse, as an expert in your field, and your audience has taken a mental exit. You might as well be talking to an empty room.
Why do speakers self-sabotage their speeches by beginning this way? It’s simple. It’s because they haven’t clearly defined or prepared their opening. Consequently, nervously, they search for what to say next and fill in this awkward gap with a filler word, “ah” or “um.”
The real success of every presentation is leaving your audience with something of value. What do they get out of spending time listening to your presentation?
Many people believe that they need natural brilliance in speaking and presenting well. They believe that they need to be polished, smart, witty and charming all before they actually start to build a speech. Those attributes can come naturally, but most often, they come as a result of passion, knowledge and practice.
One of the most important factors in a successful presentation is serving the needs of your audience.
Going back to the idea that you need to leave your audience with something of value, caring for your audience’s needs doesn’t require perfection.
You can make mistakes during your speech and it’s going to be okay.
As a professional speaker, everything you do the minute you walk into the room sets the tone for your message. Without even speaking one word, you can determine just how many people you will reach because their engagement with your message depends on you; not on them. You can have a great topic and great presentation skills, but if you are not able to communicate the passion you have about your topic, none of it really matters.
Expect the Best
Go before your audience expecting to make an impact. People aren’t interested in what you know. They want your information for themselves and passion is the “grease” that lubricates that passage of information.
- Do you expect your audience to receive what you have to say?
- Do you communicate that you’re excited to be there and you’re excited that they are there as well?
Be Mindful of Your Audience
Have you ever had to speak before an audience who was hostile toward your topic? If not, it will surely happen sometime. The following tips may help you ease that hostility:
- Be attentive and understand the question being raised
A person from the audience is asking you questions just for the sake of asking questions. Do not respond with sarcasm. No matter how challenging the question is, keep your cool and answer accordingly.
- Be guided by your speech
When a hostile audience bombards you with challenging questions, go back to the essence and contents of your speech for the answers. This simply shows that you know what you are talking about and emphasizes the message you are trying to convey.
- Be the master of your temper
Treat your audience as you would your friends. This way they will feel your sincerity. This also helps establish chemistry between you and the audience. No matter how a part of the crowd pushes you to be irritated, hold that feeling and bear in mind that you are there to talk, not to argue, with the audience.
- Be honest
The more honest you are, the more the audience will listen to you. It is far easier to deliver a sincere speech than to play games. Eventually, the audience will know that you are lying if you are not sincere in your message.
- Be careful with your gestures
Be expressive but not too powerful. Never use gestures and body language that may tell the audience you wish to dominate them.