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Create a Great Audience Connection

 

By Bob Goodyear

Creating a great audience connection is key to making a great presentation. It’s easy to say but sometimes it’s very hard to do. What does it take to create such a connection? Let me share 3 tips that I’ve learned over the years that have helped me.

Know Your Audience

This is such a key for making a great presentation and connecting with your audience. I’ve written previously about questions you should ask to get to know your audience before you show up to speak. While these questions will help you to learn about your intended audience before you speak, you should verify who is attending. Once you enter the room, it’s a good practice to have a conversation with some of those who are already there. It helps you in two ways. The first is that you will learn about who is really attending. The second is that you become “known” to some of the attendees. This allows you to be more comfortable before you begin speaking. It’s always more comfortable to speak in front of people you know rather than a group of people you don’t.

Meet at the Audience’s Level

In order to make any kind of audience connection, you must be at their level. In other words, you must speak their language, you must match their energy level, you must speak at their pace. I compare this to trying to charge my cell phone. I remember when I bought my first iPhone. Previously I owned a Blackberry and I had all of the charging equipment for it. I had made the assumption that the iPhone would take the same equipment to be able to charge it as well. Boy, was I wrong! I found out immediately that an iPhone was very different than my old Blackberry. In order to charge the iPhone, I couldn’t use my Blackberry charger.

The concept is the same with our audiences. For example, if I was speaking at 8AM, I’d probably come in with a lower energy level than if I was speaking at 10AM. How do you know what the levels of the audience are? You need to be in the room before you speak. If there are others speaking before you, then listen to them and watch the audience. It’s a great way to get the pulse of the room. If it’s a sales meeting, talk with everyone you can before the meeting starts to take that pulse.

Be Conversational

“Be yourself” is another way to say this. While it’s simple advice, for many of us it’s difficult to do. Too often I’ve found myself becoming “Speaker Man” instead of just being myself in front of an audience. I’ve written about this before in a previous post. Audiences want to hear you and not “Speaker Man.” When you are yourself, you show your personality, your thoughts, and feelings and when you speak it will be simply a conversation between you and the audience. You won’t be artificial. Audiences will connect with you when you are just yourself.

If you follow these three steps, I know you will be able to have a great audience connection.

Bob Goodyear is a veteran speaker on technology who understands the communications challenges that technical professionals face. Find out how Bob can help your organization with its presentation. Reach Bob by email or by phone at 404.790.5855.

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