Though often overlooked and avoided, public speaking is one of the most vital skills we possess as individuals and professionals. From conferences and talks to investor pitches and boardroom meetings, when done effectively, powerful communication can tremendously impact the success of your work. As you take on more responsibilities, here are five tips that will help you influence your offline audience to relate, engage and act.
1. Understand their expectations.
The most important thing to remember when doing speaking of any kind is, it’s not about you. Of course, you’ll potentially share personal stories and anecdotes but ultimately, you’re the vessel. People have come from far and wide (or perhaps just from the comfort of a neighboring cubicle) to absorb the content, ideas or information you have to share. As an audience, nothing is more frustrating or disappointing than showing up for a talk or presentation that doesn’t address what you thought it would. Know what your audience is expecting and give them what they came for.
2. Be clear on what you’re setting out to do.
One key to moving your audience is knowing how you want to move them. While your subject matter may vary, the purpose of it can normally be grouped into one of four categories: to inform, to entertain, to inspire, or to persuade. The tone of your content should mirror whatever category you choose.
3. Get close.
When engaging an audience of any size, intimacy builds trust. The closer you are, the more you increase your chances of making a meaningful connection. Don’t be afraid to take a few steps toward your audience. This can get a little tricky based on what type of setting you’re speaking in but you can learn a few great tips on moving around a stage and getting closer to your audience here.
4. Involve them.
Everyone wants to feel like they’re a part of something. As you’re engaging, be sure to create a role for the audience. If you’re taking them through a journey, they should feel like they took the ride with you. If you’re telling a story, make sure it’s one they can relate to. One of the simplest ways to do this is to by using “we” statements in lieu of “I,” whenever possible. We creates a space for everyone to take ownership of or accountability for whatever is it you’re speaking about.
5. Have a KABOOM!
Your KABOOM! is your impact. From the minute you take the stage, you should be 100% clear on what you want your audience to take away. The easiest way to arrive at your KABOOM! is to ask yourself three questions as you’re preparing your content:
By the end of my speech/presentation…
How should the audience feel?
What should they think?
What do I want them to do?
In the end, your content should lead the audience to the answers that you come up with.
Implement the tips above and you’ll quickly see a noticeable improvement in your ability to connect meaningfully. What are some tips and strategies that have been helpful for you when it comes to moving an audience?
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