Why should you CARE for your audience?
The answer is simple. The Law of Reciprocity.
It basically says that when someone offers you a gift, care or support you tend to feel compelled to reciprocate.
However, the chances are high that you will always receive something back.
It may not be something tangible. It may just be the feeling of joy, happiness and peace in contributing to another.
Giving and receiving is part of building relationships and trust.
These are essential ingredients in successfully engaging with one, three or thirty people in a room.
There’s a rule though.
You have to be authentic and genuine in your desire to give.
Here are some ways you can show that you CARE :-
Have you ever been to a presentation or meeting where it sounds like the speaker is just regurgitating a speech – word for word, monotone, and fast-paced?
Audience engagement. Zero.
You need to be savvy when it comes to preparing yourself to speak.
Make sure you do your homework and find out who will be in the room, what are they there for, and how can what you share be of value to them?
You can even find out more about them during your presentation – ask questions and get them involved.
Getting curious about who you are talking to is a great way to also relax your nerves.
How many times were your distracted? Have you drifted off and focus your thoughts on your inner dialogue instead?
(Inner Chatter :- what am I cooking for dinner, what do I have on tomorrow, how long more till afternoon tea,etc)
It is so easy for our mind to wonder.
A great way to maintain your audience’s attention is the use of your voice.
Ensure your voice is clear and your volume is loud enough for everyone to hear you.
Vary your tonality, pace and in some cases “pitch” (putting on a character voice) when speaking.
If you are unsure, get some feedback from a colleague or a friend.
You should be able to work out the ideal pace to maintain.
Your speech should be at a pace that is easy to follow most of the time.
However, try varying your pace to emphasise certain points or when illustrating parts of a story to create contrast.
This will create intrigue and maintain audience’s attention
When you are speaking to a group, most likely you are wanting to inform, persuade and/or entertain them.
Have you experienced a speaker sharing an inappropriate joke?
You may get a couple of giggles but at the same time, you may have offended many along the way.
That is why it is important to get curious about your audience so that you are able to customise your delivery and increase the effectiveness of your speech/presentation.
There are also other ways to respect your audience – make sure you speak within the allocated time frame, do not speak off topic, and be prepared to respect their choice to agree or disagree with what you have shared.
And of course many of us who get nervous when speaking tend to automatically do this.
We look up. We look down. We look at our notes. We look at our hands.
In the meantime, our audience is trying to engage with us with no success.
Relationship was not established and trust? Zero.
Therefore, it is important to engage eye contact with your audience.
A powerful way to do this is to pick one person from each corner of the room.
Engage eye contact with each person long enough that it feels like you are only talking to them. In doing so, it will feel like (for the audience) that you are engaging with the entire room.
To get comfortable with engaging eye contact, choose to practice with family and friends.
Try to engage someone’s eye contact for 5 minutes. You may start off with giggles, weird eye movement, and trying to annoy each other.
Let it all play out and continue to hold the eye contact as long as possible.
Ideally you will come to a point of being at peace with each other and experience a sense of calmness when engaging eye contact.
The key is to get to the point of calmness when engaging eye contact.
As you begin to put more thought into caring for your audience, I trust you will start to develop greater confidence in speaking and sharing your message.
“Life is an echo.
What you send out comes back.
What you sow, you reap.
What you give, you get.
What you see in others, exists in you”.
– Zig Zaglar