Turning the Spotlight on the Audience
I happened across this article titled, “11 Ways To Instantly Connect With Anyone”, and although it is meant for more one-on-one interactions, there is a lot of wisdom in it that would tie into speaking or presentations.
The first point in the article was the following:
1. Leave a strong first impression. Most people decide whether or not they like you within the first seven seconds of meeting you. They then spend the rest of the conversation internally justifying their initial reaction. This may sound terrifying, but by knowing this, you can take advantage of it to connect with anyone.
Now from the perspective of a speaker, this is one piece of advice that I give to all presenters. When you start your talk and all eyes are on you, turn the focus back onto the audience. Simple things like acknowledging where you are and what you know about the area, or sharing something that you heard earlier at the conference or happened in the room. Showing an awareness of who you are speaking to shows that you care that you are there.
Too often people jump right into the “talk” or presentation, where there first focus should be on building rapport. This is no different than what you would do within the classroom, you just have a MUCH shorter time to do it.
Think about it…You are letting people know that you listen and care about them. Isn’t that a great start to any conversation?
(If you are interested in learning more on “becoming a better speaker”, I have been contemplating delivering a self-directed course on the topic over a 5 to 8 week period. If you are interested in this topic, I can send you more information when it is ready for release. Please feel free to share your contact details in this Google Form.)