It's Valentine's Day and people are sharing the love. But how do you make sure Cupid's arrow hits the hearts of your audience? How do some public speakers create a love fest while others fail to seduce the crowd? Here are some tips to grab audience attention and have them wanting more.
- Warm Up Just like the art of seduction, a good public speaker greets the audience before speaking, sets the stage, and makes them feel comfortable. Smile and be friendly. It's about creating rapport.
- Start with a Hook. Too many presentations begin with "Today I want to talk to you about...That's an invitation to check email. Begin with a startling statistic, a quote, or a benefit to the listener. Ask yourself, "What are three benefits to this audience?" Identify the number one benefit to them and that's your hook.
- Make It About Them-Most presenters are speaker-centered, not listener-centered. Appeal to the self interests of the audience and they'll listen.This involves pacing the group and speaking their language.There is an energy and rhythm to an audience.If they're quiet and reserved come to them slowly and quietly. If it's an energetic, expressive group, match their explosive energy.Give them real value and use examples to show you understand their world. People like people who are like them.
- Find the Funny-People love to laugh. An audience will often give higher marks to funny speakers so build in humor. You fall in love because of how the person makes you feel. It's the same with public speaking. An audience wants to be entertained.
- Engage-Nobody likes listening to a talking head. Imagine a date where a person talks at you and never asks about you..Adult audiences want to be participants. Engage the audience with questions, polls, exercises, discussions, and stories. Nothing connects better than a story. When you tell your story,the audience will connect to you.
- Build Anticipation-To keep an audience with you, use the technique of salting.Introduce an idea but don't give them the answer.During a media interview, a guest told the TV host that there were three critical communication skills. He said, "You've used one of them." He then continued talking. The host interrupted and said, "What was it?" Like a good tease, let the audience know you'll tell them by the end of the presentation.They'll be sitting on the edge of their seats. And that's how you keep them in the palm of your hand.