This morning I stopped in a Starbucks on W43 Street and Avenue of the Americas in New York City. I was expecting the usual long line that doesn't move. Instead, we moved quickly and the server asked for my order before I approached the cashier. Then she gave a coffee to the man in front of me and told me someone was delivering my tea right now. That was pleasant! Then I sat down and watched the baristas behind the counter. They called each person by name-"Ron, here's your grande. Adam, you have a latte. They actually wrote the person's name on the cup. It was a good presentation and that prompted me to compliment them on their personal service. This was the first time I had seen this approach at Starbucks. It made me wonder what it would be like if our presentations were that personal. What if we spoke directly to individuals and made them feel special? Well, we can. It's called engagement. Public speaking is personal. Simply by doing some homework to get to know the audience members in advance we can tailor the message to include their individual challenges and experiences. Arriving early can accomplish the same thing. When I talk to audience members as they enter the room, I hear their stories and situations. I can then refer to them by name. For example, "When I was speaking to Laura this morning she told me..." Steve, you'll appreciate this story. I know you've been there."
Nothing impacts an audience like a personal message just for them. It's not difficult to do. It engages them, creates a bond, and makes them feel special.