By 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.
First, repeat the audience member’s response to your initial question. This reinforces the value of their contribution to the rest of the group. It makes them feel valued. You also ensure that everybody hears their answer.
Second, when you give that person feedback, be as specific as you can. Tell the entire audience what you liked most about their answer, or why it’s of value. Keep your feedback to about 10 seconds, then move on to the next raised hand.
Of course, sometimes you have to tell someone that they’re completely off the mark and their answer is dead wrong. How do you do this without humiliating them? Answer: use the tone of your voice. Give an answer that clearly tells them they’re incorrect, and explain why. Redirect them toward the correct answer. But don’t do it with a tone that says, “Oh my gosh, you’re a complete idiot!!!” Give the corrective feedback with a tone that says, “That’s incorrect, but I still think you’re capable and smart.” I’m sure you understand the difference.
Keep track of whom you call upon and where they’re seated. Don’t call on the same two to three enthusiastic participants throughout your event. Rotate around the room. Do your best to include everybody that wants to participate. You’d be very surprised as to how many seminar leaders, teachers, etc. unconsciously call on the same people over and over again. For example, sometimes an instructor will call only on one gender, because that’s with whom they’re most comfortable. In other instances, they only call upon the section of the room immediately in front of them and neglect everyone else. Don’t make this mistake. It will undermine the whole audience relationship you’ve been working to build.
When you’re speaking in public, whether teaching a live event or in another public speaking forum, working your audience in this way It’ll go a long way toward building a great relationship and an excellent rapport that results in a fantastic speaking event for everyone.
With more than a decade of experience, Lily Iatridis of Fearless Delivery knows the key elements in effective and engaging presentation, as well as how to support professionals in expressing their message clearly by giving them the “how-to” shortcuts, personalized instruction and even packaging their presentation for them if the need arises.
If you’ve ever been nervous in front of an audience, please download Lily’s free ebook, “5 Steps to Neutralize Difficult Audience Members- Without A Power Struggle!” In this ebook, Lily shares simple strategies that will put your mind at ease, arm you with useful strategies, and entertain you with some stories of her own bumps along the path to public speaking success.